Please sign the petition to David Cameron for more health workers here. Thank you.
When the big, fat packet came through the post, we were both excited but I was also a little sad; the girl in Ghana I have been sponsoring for the last 10 years through Plan International, comes of age this year, meaning that, as of her birthday, my term of supporting her and her community will come to an end. The impact of that on me personally is subject for a rather different post, but my reaction when we tore open the large envelope is definitely worth mentioning here as a backdrop to this one.
I let L remove the new portfolio pack as I wanted him to be involved in this right from the start. He opened the folder and immediately held up a photograph in a plastic protective film, saying “Look Mummy, it’s a little boy! Who is it? Is he from Africa??”
The pack contained a new profile for me to review and a letter asking if I would like to continue supporting Plan. It was a no-brainer: whoever the child was and wherever they lived, it went without saying that we would extend our current commitment to them. I was, however, a little unprepared at how “fitting” (if that’s possible) the organisation’s choice of match had been; Our new little boy is called Lourino, he is 4.5 years old – exactly 2months younger than L, lives with just his father (Mother’s whereabouts unknown) in a poor but relatively stable part of Mozambique. Some of the parallels left me speechless and actually pretty choked. L, however, listened intently as I explained what we would be doing and was pleased as punch to hear that he now had a new ‘special friend’ in Africa who is the same age as him but is not as lucky, but that we are going to help him and his Papa to buy clothes and shoes and books and pay for medicine if he gets poorly.
Earlier this year, I followed the #passiton No child is born to die campaign very closely – feeling pretty helpless in terms of capacity to ‘do something useful’ due to my own situation at the time, but seeing Lourino’s face on a picture in my own child’s hand, made me more determined than ever to crow-bar more time into my own life, to better plug the work that Save the Children is doing to protect kids not lucky enough to be part of a foster scheme such as Plan.
Save the Children’s campaign back in June succeeded in exposing and ultimately filling (and exceeding!) the financial gap required to fund enough vaccines to save an additional 4million children’s lives by the year 2015. This in itself was an awesome feat, but unfortunately, it is going to take more than just the vaccines to save these children’s lives; As Chris Mosler stated in one of her campaign blog posts (paraphrased) << It’s ok to have the money for the vaccines but they don’t administer themselves >> and there is still a 3.5million deficiency in the number of health workers required to achieve this goal.
So what do Health Workers do? Are they really that important? Yes! They are fundamental to the survival of millions of mothers and children. Click on the image to find out more about the critical roles they play.
A report published by Save the Children called “No child out of reach” calls for immediate action to end the global health worker crisis”. It stresses the need for global political action, for long-term investment in the recruitment, training and acceptable remuneration of health workers, and for optimised deployment of the workforce to ensure that there is a health worker within reach of every child.
It is just this subject which is taking Chris Mosler and Liz Scarff, the brainchild of the campaign, among others, to New York after the Save the Children Blogging conference, to shout even louder about the criticality of Health Workers to the overall administration of medical support, particularly in Africa. They will attend the UN General Assembly in New York where world leaders are to discuss the shortfall in global health workers and will decide how this crisis should be met.
We now have just less than 48 hours prior to the summit to add our say, to pressurise world leaders to use the assembly to “make new, substantial and specific commitments to expand the number of health workers and better support those workers already in place.” We in the UK can play our part by signing a petition to David Cameron, requesting that he lead the way in prioritising his aid budget to help fill the shortfall of health workers globally which is costing millions of children’s lives.
Here are some more terrifying facts as quoted by Save the Children reports:
Africa accounts for one-third of the global disease burden among mothers and children but just 3% of the world’s doctors, nurses and midwives and 1% of global health spending.
41 of the 61 countries with a shortage of health workers are in Africa.
Three quarters of Mozambican doctors and 81% nurses from Liberia work abroad
Healthcare for every mother and child requires an additional US$17.5bn a year – less than one quarter of what Europeans spend on cosmetics annually (can you imagine that?!)
Please. Help us to help Save the Children take their campaign right to the top in order to save more children’s lives. We would do it for our own, so please help those who do not have the privilege of a voice. Sign the petition here, blog it, vlog it, tweet it, craft it, whatever you do, do it now and play a part in something huge; Help save millions of lives.