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Who Are the Health Workers?

Who Are the Health Workers? Watch Assefa Seme Deresse answer this question. (Step 4.4)
ASSEFA SEME DERESSE: In this next session, we’re going to look at who are the health workers. Planning, implementing, and evaluating any program is resource intensive, particularly the polio eradication program with its goal of reaching every child, required a wide range of people to be engaged. Human resources will be on the formal health sector where we created. At the peak of the time, the World Health Organization deployed 1,500 technical staff and nearly twice as many administrative support personnel to work on polio eradication worldwide. The Global Polio eradication initiative was mobilizing over 10 million volunteers and health workers each year to immunize nearly 600 million children with two billion doses of vaccines at the peak of its activities.
The health workforce that we talk about is not only limited to the health service providers. The non-health service providers that back up the service from behind are also included. To mention some of the health service providers, we can talk of physicians, nurses, paramedical personnel, community health workers, volunteer surveillance officers, lab technicians, and immunization officers to just cite a few of them. Among non-health service providers, individuals not engaged in the direct provision of the service but who are backing the program from behind, like program accountants, administrative professionals, clerical workers, drivers, and others. Looking at the key categories, let’s take a closer look at some of the key categories of staff in a typical Global Polio eradication initiative.
These are just a few. There are many more. The key categories were classified and they’re the World Health Organization, UNICEF, Government, and other partners. The World Health Organization was keen to provide surveillance officers, drivers, administrative staff, epidemiologists, and some others. UNICEF. On its part, contributed communication professionals, drivers, administrative staff, and so on. The government also provided national level officials, district level officials, frontline managers, and, of course, door-to-door vaccination staff. For example, millions of such door-to-door vaccinators were presented in India. Other partners have provided– have contributed lab staff, rotary volunteers, CDC STOP staff teams are some of the teams that have participated in the polio eradication initiative.
The point is that it takes a huge variety of specialized staff of various types to accomplish a goal like this. Here is another example that displays the wide range and breadth of health workers involved in polio eradication activities in India. There are millions of other workers contributing to polio eradication activities. Looking at this diagram, we can see who was the health workforces with many different types of individuals with varying skills. For example, administrative staff, surveillance officers, immunization officers, volunteers, doctors, nurses, barometer [INAUDIBLE] but even using all of their government health staff, in most countries, it’s still not enough to do a door-to-door vaccination campaign. So the Global Polio eradication initiative relies on additional staff, which is the volunteers.
In the early days of polio eradication in the Americas, many people volunteered to help eradicate polio, including the wealthy and the middle class people like rotarians, who came out to help with polio campaigns for a day or two. On this slide here, I’m showing you the three volunteers, women volunteers, who are sorting out polio vaccines.

Assefa Seme Deresse, MD, MPH School of Public Health, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia

Reflect on the lecture and reading “Polio eradication: Mobilizing and managing the human resources”. Then, thinking about your own region, respond to the following questions:

  • Are their organizations in your area, such as Rotary, that might be willing to volunteer to assist with global health programs? Have they helped with vaccination programs before?
  • How could you reach out to them to initiate a partnership to develop committed volunteers?
  • What are the pluses and minuses of relying on volunteers to carry out essential program activities?

Post your results in the discussion.

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Planning and Managing Global Health Programmes: Promoting Quality, Accountability and Equity

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