Last Mile Health’s 2022 Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Commitment to Action was featured this evening by Chelsea Clinton during the CGI Annual Meeting plenary session.
“Last Mile Health will bring urgently needed primary care support in remote communities in Ethiopia, Liberia, and Sierra Leone by training healthcare workers in each,” said Chelsea Clinton. “Their commitment will improve the quality of healthcare for mothers and children, and advance gender equity and equal pay for community healthcare workers — improving equity on multiple dimensions, simultaneously.”
Our commitment is rooted in the belief that a healthier, safer, and more gender-equal world is within reach–and requires investing in high-quality training for community health workers (CHWs) and pathways to professionalization for female CHWs. We are honored to stand among other changemaking organizations working to strengthen the health workforce to realize health for all.
Illness is universal, access to healthcare is not. But we can change that when we invest in community health workers, who provide primary health services to their neighbors. Studies show that training and professionalizing CHWs can save more than three million lives annually. CHWs can maintain primary health services during crises like COVID-19, and contribute to reductions in child and maternal mortality.
Globally, however, there are not enough paid CHWs to meet demand. There is a massive health worker shortage, with 18 million more health workers needed by 2030. Training this workforce is a crucial component of health systems strengthening, but it can be expensive and unevenly delivered, leading to significant gaps in patient care. Sub-optimal training is widespread in CHW programs, contributing to lower job satisfaction and performance and preventing these programs from reaching their full life-saving potential.
Building on 15 years of experience, we will partner with the governments of Liberia, Ethiopia, and Sierra Leone to train CHWs to strengthen the delivery of primary health services to remote communities, and to increase the number of paid female CHWs as part of our 2022 Commitment to Action.
- In Liberia, as the lead technical partner for the national CHW program, we are working towards fully scaling and sustaining the national program, with a focus on increasing the number of female CHWs to strengthen quality of care for mothers and children. Building on a pioneering gender assessment, we will work with the Government of Liberia to evaluate the barriers for women to become paid CHWs, revise the national policy, and recruit more female CHWs as part of the national program.
- In Ethiopia, the Ministry of Health invited Last Mile health to design an in-service training program for CHWs to increase performance. Leveraging the success of a reproductive, maternal, and child health pilot, we have the opportunity to scale blended training (incorporating face-to-face and digital components) to 1,000 additional CHWs over the next year–with the potential to eventually reach all 40,000 CHWs working nationwide, majority of whom are female.
- In Sierra Leone, we are partnering with the Ministry of Health to implement a revised integrated national CHW program in the country. The integrated national program aims to train 8,700 CHWs to deliver a comprehensive service delivery package for mothers and children. We are a key technical partner, providing upskilling and monitoring and evaluation support.
A focus on training alone isn’t sufficient to build the community health workforce–it’s also about fair pay and recognition of the critical role women play in the existing workforce. 70% of the community health workforce is female worldwide, and at least 6 million women are working unpaid or underpaid. These and other critical issues are key to our next five-year strategy, which aims to close the distance to healthcare for people in remote communities by strengthening health systems and upskilling community and frontline health workers to deliver quality primary care to patients at the last mile. Our CGI commitment to action represents a foundational investment in the lead up to the strategy’s launch in 2023.
To learn more about our commitment, visit CGI’s website here.
About the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI):
Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), an initiative of the Clinton Foundation, convenes global leaders to create and implement solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. CGI Annual Meetings have brought together more than 200 sitting and former heads of state, more than 20 Nobel Prize laureates, and hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations and NGOs, major philanthropists, and members of the media. To date, members of the CGI community have made more than 3,700 Commitments to Action, which have improved the lives of more than 435 million people in more than 180 countries. For more information, visit clintonglobalinitiative.org and follow us on Twitter @ClintonGlobal and Facebook at facebook.com/clintonglobalinitiative.