To me, [community health workers] are very helpful because in most cases I am busy. They have taken over that heavy work. You see, family planning needs a lot of talking to clients and yet I am always busy at the unit with deliveries, antenatal, immunization and many others. So with them I get helped. They have really taken off a big burden from me.
~Achieng Rose, Midwife, Bulumbi Health Clinic, Busia, Uganda
Global health worker crisis
Community Health Worker Marie Chantal walks into her village of Batamuliza Hururiro, near Rukumo Health Center, Rwanda. © 2013 Todd Shapera, Courtesy of Photoshare
Right now, we are 7.2 million health workers short of meeting the global population’s health care needs. By 2035, that shortage will reach 12.8 million. Twenty-nine of the 46 sub-Saharan countries are below the World Health Organization’s (WHO) lowest category of 2.5 doctors per 10,000 individuals. Moreover, medical providers are unevenly distributed; in most low-resource countries, doctors and nurses typically live and practice in urban areas, yet the majority of the populations in those countries reside in rural areas. Family planning services, in particular, suffer from grossly inadequate numbers of providers to meet the needs. A 2012 Guttmacher Institute estimate calculated 222 million women with an unmet need for modern contraception in low-resource countries.