The essential role of health care workers has been reinforced during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Following the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife in 2020, the World Health Organization has designated 2021 as the International Year of Health and Care Workers to highlight the urgent need for investment to ensure such workers are supported, protected and equipped during the COVID-19 response and beyond.
Today, too many health and care workers are unpaid or underpaid and WHO forecasts a health-worker shortage of 18 million by 2030. This would leave many low- and middle-income countries ill prepared to withstand the challenges of future pandemics and crises.
On May 19th, 2021, as an ecosystem event of Devex @ WHA 2021 Devex hosted an online event in partnership with GSK and Save the Children, that highlighted the need for upskilling and training community health care workers to strengthen basic health services. It will bring together a range of perspectives, including health professionals from different parts of the world.
The discussion also drew upon valuable lessons learned from the GSK and Save the Children partnership – which has trained more than 30,000 health care workers since 2011 – and highlighted how long-standing partnerships and sustained investments can support strong health systems during COVID-19 and beyond.
Welcome & introduction with Raj Kumar, Devex President & Editor-in-Chief
Fireside chat with Dr. Samah Mohsen, Save the Children Yemen Health and Nutrition Programme Officer and Sara Jerving, Devex Global Health Reporter
Panel conversation with:
-Catherine Kane, Technical Officer, Health Workforce Team, World Health Organization
-Emmanuel Luvai, County Community Health Strategist, Busia County Ministry of Health, Kenya
-Diana Mukami, Digital Learning Director and Head of Programmes, Amref Health Africa’s Institute of Capacity Development
-Fiona Smith-Laittan, VP Global Health Unit, GSK
-Moderator: Raj Kumar, President & Editor-in-Chief
Firestarter question: Gwen Hines, Executive Director of Global Programmes, Save the Children
Closing remarks with Raj Kumar, President & Editor-in-Chief, Devex
Gwen joined Save the Children in March 2018. She has worked in international development for over 20 years, most recently as International Programmes Director at the Department for International Development (DFID), where she led the Multilateral Development Review, benchmarking 41 organisations and identifying areas for improvement.
Prior to that she was UK Executive Director for the World Bank Group (2012-2015), where she helped to broker major reforms to the Bank's procurement and evaluation policies and provided oversight of Britain's $5bn funding. Gwen has also held the post of Country Director for DFID in Bangladesh and Malawi, and she has played a variety of strategic roles shaping the UK's engagement with Africa through the G8, DFID's strategy on HIV/AIDS, and approaches to EU enlargement.
Catherine Kane is a technical officer on the WHO Health Workforce team, with a portfolio that includes community health, knowledge management and network engagement, and COVID-19 human resource for health management. She joined WHO as the Information Manager on the Global Malaria Programme RAcE team, which supported community health workers to deliver integrated community case management of malaria, pneumonia and diarrhoea in sub Saharan Africa. Prior to joining WHO, Catherine worked for the Red Cross Movement locally, nationally and internationally, including as a community health volunteer starting at age 16. She has held additional policy, humanitarian diplomacy and emergency management positions in national government and health advocacy organizations.
Emmanuel Luvai is a public health specialist with over 15 years of work experience, currently the County Community Health Strategy Focal person in the County Department of Health and Sanitation and a member of the County Health Management Team in Busia County, Kenya. His key role is to oversee community health activities in the County. He has worked closely with the county assembly in advocating for legislation that ensures remuneration of Community Health volunteers and by extension sustainability.
Dr. Samah Mohsen is a medical doctor with a postgraduate and master degree in internal medicine. Since 2013, Samah has been a member of the Board of Community of medicine in Yemen. Samah joined Save the Children Lahj-Yemen in 2017 as an Integrated Community Case Management (ICCM) Officer and is now a Health & Nutrition Officer. Prior to her role at Save the Children, she was a Team Leader for a cholera project with a local NGO. In 2003-2004, she worked as a general practitioner in Al-Gamhooriah Hospital in Aden Governorate.
Diana is the Digital Learning Director and Head of Programmes at Amref Health Africa’s Institute of Capacity Development. She has experience in project planning, design, development, implementation, management and evaluation. For more than a decade, Diana has been involved in capacity development programmes in the public and private health sectors in sub-Saharan Africa. These have included the implementation of in-service, pre-service, and continuous professional development (CPD) programmes for health workers in countries such as Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Senegal, and Lesotho, in partnership with Ministries of Health, regulatory bodies, health worker training institutions, and funding organisations. Diana believes that appropriate technology and innovations, used the right way, contribute significantly towards the development of responsive human resources for health in Africa. She also believes that the application of design thinking in everything that we do can lead to world peace.
Fiona Smith-Laittan is Vice-President & Head of the Global Health Unit at GSK. The Global Health Unit is the coordination point for GSK’s enterprise-wide Global Health activities which are led by our three global businesses: Pharmaceuticals, Vaccines and Consumer, and focus on the treatment and prevention of infectious diseases in children and adolescents in the developing world. The Unit also has responsibility for GSK’s corporate Global Health programmes, such as our pioneering Save the Children partnership, albendazole donation programme and GSK’s emergency response to humanitarian disasters. Fiona has worked at GSK since 2005 in a variety of commercial leadership roles within UK Pharmaceuticals and ViiV Healthcare, and in strategy, delivery and operational roles in R&D, the Office of the CEO and Communications & Government Affairs.
Raj Kumar is a media leader and former humanitarian council chair for the World Economic Forum and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He is the author of the book "The Business of Changing the World," a go-to primer on the ideas, people, and technology disrupting the aid industry.
Sara Jerving is a global health reporter based in Nairobi. Her work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Vice News, and Bloomberg News, among others. Sara holds a master's degree from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism where she was a Lorana Sullivan fellow. She was a finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists in 2018, part of a Vice News Tonight on HBO team that received an Emmy nomination in 2018 and received the Philip Greer Memorial Award from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in 2014. She has reported from over a dozen countries.