Meet Eight Health Workers Who Love Their Jobs

Becca Simon

Formerly CCP | Communications Director

During the second annual World Health Worker Week, April 7-11, 2014, we are celebrating the women and men who save lives. Sarah Dwyer and Carol Bales, from K4Health partner IntraHealth International, recently wrote this post for the Vital Blog. In it, frontline health worker Kenechanh Chanthapadith laments he doesn’t have enough time to obtain more knowledge to do his job better. K4Health’s Global Health eLearning Center offers no-cost, self-paced, Internet-based courses in 11 programs. Courses can be printed out and studied offline, so professionals like Chanthapadith can learn at learn at their own pace, and when it’s convenient for them.

“I love my job!” says one enthusiastic health worker in Laos. And he backs up his statement with a solid reason: “I like to save my patient’s life.” 

Kenechanh Chanthapadith relates a typical day on the job, sharing an example about a woman who complained of abdominal pain. “I examined her and I found that she had an ectopic pregnancy,” he says. “I sent her immediately to Mahosot Hospital to get an operation. And she’s alive now!”

He saved her life, but he wishes he could do even more.

“If I had time to aggregate my knowledge or get more training, I’m sure I could give better service to my patients and save more lives as well.”

Time, as Kenechanh points out, is a big problem. Around the world, health workers are often so busy keeping up with unrealistic workloads in understaffed facilities that they don’t get a chance to upgrade their skills and knowledge. There simply aren’t enough health workers to meet the global demand for health care.

Today, the global shortage of doctors, nurses, and midwives stands at 7.2 million, according to the World Health Organization. And that figure could rise to 12.9 million by 2035—if we don’t take action. (Check out the report, A Universal Truth: No Health without a Workforce, to learn more.) 

April 7-11 is World Health Worker Week—a time to recognize those who are on the front lines of care every day. So we’re celebrating Kenechanh and his life-saving colleagues around the world. They’re improving maternal and child health in their communities, providing HIV counseling and treatment, offering much-needed family planning services, and treating injuries and noncommunicable diseases. 

Hear from Kenechanh and seven other passionate health workers in the short video above. We compiled it from our “I’m a Health Worker” series, which highlights how we at IntraHealth International and the IntraHealth-led CapacityPlus project place health workers at the center of our efforts to improve global health and expand access to high-quality care. So far there are more than 50 interviews with health workers from 12 countries in 5 languages. In their own words, health workers tell us what motivates them, what their challenges are, and what could help them save even more lives. 

Help spread the word and raise awareness of the need for more health workers around the world. Share the video with your friends and professional network, and tweet the link: 

8 #healthworkers from around the world share their joy of saving lives: http://bit.ly/1ls5vl8 #WHWWeek #healthworkerscount

And add a comment to tell us about a health worker who has made a difference in your life.