In these uncertain times, health is top of mind. Even in smaller acts like hand washing, sanitizing, practicing social distancing or staying home, we are protecting ourselves, others and supporting health care workers on the front-lines.
Here at Plan International, the health and safety of children and their communities has been our priority for over 80 years. Our work focuses on removing the barriers to health care and ensuring that children, their families, and especially marginalized girls, can exercise their fundamental human rights to health.
In the wake of the recent health crisis, our experience in medical emergencies from cholera to Ebola, as well as our work to fight HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, has made us experts when it comes to helping ensure strong, proactive health systems in countries around the world. Part of this approach includes engaging community members to become health champions.
Meet some of the inspirational health care workers we’re proud to have trained and partnered with, and see how they’re making a difference on the front line of protecting health, every day.
Jesmin – The lifesaving midwife
800 women and girls die every day from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth. Access to health care, including midwives, is essential to preventing these deaths and ensuring moms and babies can both survive and thrive.
Meet Jesmin – through Plan International Canada’s projects in Bangladesh, she discovered her passion for midwifery. She received training and accommodation in a health centre and has now conducted deliveries and provided pre- and post-natal care to over 4,000 mothers.
“Conducting deliveries is a challenging and noble job,” shares Jesmin. “Thank you Plan International. I try my best to serve pregnant women in my community.”
Thomas – the prevention expert
Malaria is a preventable disease that kills over 400,000 people every year.
Thomas, a community health assistant supported by Plan International Canada, is a local hero in his community in Liberia and regularly conducts home visits to map out malaria in remote communities, train families on prevention and test and treat minor symptoms.
“After treatment, I teach families the importance of sleeping under mosquito nets,” he explains.
Today, local parents are more aware of their children’s health and hygiene – something that is needed now more than ever. “Things are improving. They are following my advice,” he told us, following the roll-out of the new projects.
Madame Badji – the gender equality champion
Working in rural Senegal, Madame Badji says many women and girls face a number of challenges to accessing quality care at health facilities. In addition, traditional gender norms can be a barrier to accessing health care because men are often the primary decision makers in their households, even when it comes to women’s health.
“Women often wait for their husbands’ approval before visiting the health facilities,” she says. “They are not empowered or independent. They are always obliged to ask their husbands.”
With Plan International Canada’s support, Madame Badji is determined to change this status quo and increase male involvement when it comes to pregnancy and childbirth so that more women can exercise their right to health.
“There is a great change in terms of behaviour, because some husbands attend their wives’ antenatal visits now. They also come when their wives are in labour.”
Carmelle – The change maker
In Haiti, where there are not enough health professionals to handle demand, Carmelle (at left) and 120 of her peers have been trained to be community health care workers by Plan International Canada, with the help of our generous donors.
These skilled workers will serve pressing health issues in their communities and create positive change by removing barriers to health care.
“We will be more useful to our communities. Now we know well how to help our brothers and sisters,” says Carmelle with three fellow proud health workers.
Tribute health care workers making a difference
Everyday, health care workers like Thomas, Carmelle, Jesmin and Madame Badji work tirelessly to help and care for others. You can show your appreciation for these efforts – and the efforts of all those working to keep others safe and healthy – by donating in tribute to someone special today.
Your donation will not say only say “thank you”, but will also help provide improved access to vital health supports to save lives: like critical medical training and crucial medicines, tools and supplies for children, families and entire communities in developing countries.
Projects undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through Global Affairs Canada.