Thanking the World’s Health Workers

Dr. Vanessa KerryBlog, Featured, Medicine, Midwifery, Nursing

In some countries, like the United States, this time of year begins a season of celebration with family and friends, and reflection on the year that is coming to a close. While at first blush, the year may feel tumultuous with many challenges, there is a great deal for which we are grateful here at Seed Global Health. Thanks to the extraordinary efforts, commitment, and mission of the Seed team and our partners, we launched Sharing Knowledge, Saving Lives: Seed Global Health’s 5 Year Plan to Strengthen Health Systems. Central to that strategic plan is the immense contributions and power of the healthcare workforce to help solve many of the entrenched problems we face in health. As we initiate this season of gratitude, we want to acknowledge those healthcare workers on the frontlines who carry the flag for better health every day.

We are thankful to the health workers who serve in some of the most dangerous places in the world, whether in conflict-affected regions or those in the Democratic Republic of the Congo fighting against Ebola. These brave health champions are working tirelessly to help prevent outbreaks from becoming pandemics, even in the face of attacks from armed groups.

We are thankful to the nurse practitioners of Eswatini, working to strengthen education, improve practice, and advocate for supportive policy that allows advanced nursing specialties to grow. They play a critical role in the nurse-driven national health system and it is only through their local leadership that long-term workforce strengthening can be achieved.

We thank physicians, like returning Seed Educator Lisa Rynn, who are helping to build pediatric health capacity and improve health outcomes for newborns, infants, and children in Uganda, among other countries. They ensure that our youngest and most vulnerable have access to quality pediatric care.

We thank mental health professionals, like our former nurse volunteer Amelia Rutter, who have dedicated themselves to prioritizing access to mental health care, removing stigma, and raising awareness for the treatment and prevention of mental illness in countries like Malawi, as well as worldwide.

We are grateful to health workers who are trying to save 76,000 mothers a year who die from pregnancy and childbirth-related complications. These health workers are not just serving their communities; they also ensuring that health workers’ experience and knowledge are heard in policy conversations surrounding family planning, in places like this year’s International Conference on Family Planning.

And of course, we are indebted to you, the nurses, midwives, and physicians, the educators and leaders, the mothers, fathers, and caregivers all over the world. Whether you are part of the informal healthcare sector, deeply trained as a skilled health professional, or somewhere in between, you are working towards a world where access to quality care is not a privilege for the few, but a reality for us all.

While there remains much work to be done to create an equally high standard of care in all corners of the globe, we can solve these entrenched problems. It is through your work in the clinic, at the bedside, in the classroom, and within our communities that we will ultimately achieve that healthier world. Thank you.