Vital—Invest in Health Systems by Investing in Health Workers

A new report provides the first quantitative estimates of the value of stronger health systems—and the lives they can save.

In 2012, the US Agency for International Development set an ambitious but critical goal: to save the lives of 15 million children and 600,000 mothers between 2012 and 2020. To achieve this goal, the agency is investing in efforts to strengthen local health systems.

These efforts are the central focus of the 2017 Acting on the Call report, which quantifies what many in the global health sector know intuitively—stronger health systems lead to more widely available, higher-quality care, particularly among underserved patient populations and in low-resource settings.

The commitment of the nursing staff and mothers is what makes any survival possible.

Empowering the maternal and child health workforce is the first step toward strengthening local health systems to save the lives of more mothers and their children. For 30 years, Health Volunteers Overseas (HVO) has invested in the global health workforce by providing education, training, and professional development opportunities to health workers in resource-scarce countries.

With help from our partner institutions—the hospitals, clinics, and universities in the countries where we work—we identify and seek to address the needs of the local health workforce. The long-term nature of these international partnerships enables our organization, and the volunteers who help us fulfill our mission, to witness first-hand the impact that education and capacity-building projects can have both for individuals and across health systems.

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