Study Reconfirms Importance of Health Workers

A new study published recently by Save the Children reconfirms the need for skilled health workers in communities in the developing world.

“The problems around maternal and newborn health have been raised for many years, but there still remains so much to be done,” Houleyemata Diarra, Save the Children’s newborn health regional adviser for Africa, told IRIN (United Nations’ Integrated Regional Information Network) from Mali. “There are not enough skilled attendants at births, and governments are not taking into account where health workers are needed – in communities.”

Save the Children is calling on governments and donors to prioritize building up a workforce of female health workers to serve in their communities and local clinics.

It costs a lot to train a doctor or run a hospital, but the cost of giving community health workers basic training – to diagnose and treat common early childhood illnesses, organize vaccinations and promote good nutrition and newborn care – does not have to be exorbitant, says Save the Children.

In Bangladesh the NGO found that providing female community health-workers with  training and education caused infant mortality rates in affected areas to drop by a third.

“There are a lot of models of this working well around the world,” said Save the Children’s Diarra.

Thank you to IRIN News, UNIFEM and Save the Children for this report!

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The Tia Foundation is a small, Arizona-based NGO dedicated to driving sustainable health solutions in rural Mexico.

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