This week we celebrate both World Health Worker week and World Health Day which are important days in the Soapbox calendar for raising the profile of safe, clean birth for all.
World Health Worker Week (2nd– 8th April) acknowledges the life-saving contributions of health workers globally. Countless women and babies are alive today because a midwife, nurse or doctor was by their side at the time of birth. The week also draws attention to the challenges faced by health workers in carrying out their work, including lack of access to the right training and resources. With the proper training, health workers can make a difference by practising the skills needs to save lives.
Another group of health workers who should also be celebrated yet often go unrecognised as contributing to patient safety and quality of care are domestic services or cleaning staff who ensure patient surroundings are properly cleaned and the environment poses no risk of infection. The lack of recognition of domestic staff as frontline health workers is particularly evident in low-income countries where they receive little or no training and work in very poor conditions. In recognition of the important role they play, at Soapbox, we have developed a training package for low-literate domestic staff in maternity units in low-income countries. This package is adaptable to local contexts, using local resources, and is participatory in nature, ensuring its applicability to the staff being trained. Through this training we are equipping these health workers with the knowledge and skills required to carry out their role of ensuring the environment is safe for mothers and babies.
World Health Day, celebrated on 7th April, calls for Universal Health Coverage (UHC); ensuring all people can access quality health services, where and when they need them. 303,000 women die each year in pregnancy and childbirth, often lacking access to quality care, care that should include basic hygiene and sanitation resources. At Soapbox, we support UHC through our continuous work towards delivering quality, safe and clean care for all mothers and newborns. Moving towards Universal Health Coverage requires collaboration from all partners- individuals, communities, health professionals, civil society organizations, media, and governments -playing their part in the conversation.
Find out how you can join this conversation by learning more from WHO here.