Browse by Theme: Health

What do health workers in refugee camps see change when they get support? In Uganda they say, “It has helped a lot… people used to die so much in the communities but they were made aware of good health seeking behaviours which they adopted fast.” In Jordan, case workers say they’re getting more effective at their jobs: “The training made me make many changes to the way I work…”

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All over the world recently there have been outpourings of support and appreciation for frontline health workers (FHWs) and their heroic efforts fighting COVID-19. Of course, doctors, nurses, midwives, and other health providers have been performing vital and life-saving services at great personal sacrifice even before this global pandemic, and we will continue to need them long after it is over.

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Everything about the news on COVID-19 is scary. We don’t know yet what the long-term impacts will be. We don’t know how long it will last. What we do know, from decades of responding to epidemics in some of the poorest and most fragile contexts, is that hope is possible. The only way through is together.

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If you go to many schools in poor countries or refugee camps, you will see kids washing their hands like they are scrubbing in for surgery. They are much more thorough than most Americans, where apparently 69% of men don’t wash their hands. What makes kids in crisis so smart about handwashing? Why are they following the best practice guidelines for how to wash your hands, even when running water is scarce? They understand that it could save their lives.

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Many of us start working in humanitarian, development or human rights work because we want to change the world or make our country a fairer, better place to live. But in a world where that work is mostly carved up into discrete “projects”, we often end up being satisfied with so much less. If the project we’re working on meets the targets we have agreed with the donor, if an evaluation shows positive change for those we have worked with directly, we have done good work. But is that enough?

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Her first four children each died of asphyxiation during delivery. The 30-year-old’s fifth – a baby girl – was born safely at home, and against all odds. When the same expectant mother entered Bihar’s district hospital to deliver her sixth baby, she was hoping for a boy. She entered the hospital carrying the hopes and dreams of the many family members waiting outside for the news and, as I bore witness to, her prayers were answered.

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Blog by Laurie Lee and Ramil Burden (Vice President, Africa and developing countries, GSK):

In the north eastern corner of Bangladesh lies Sunamganj district. A remote area that is underwater for almost half of the year, it is one of the hardest places in the country to be a mother. In 2012, only 11% of births were assisted by a skilled health worker compared to a third across the country, and the maternal mortality rate was double that of the nation as a whole.

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