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Countdown to the Year of Health and Care Workers

In a year like no other before, 2020 taught us many lessons—why we need agile digital tools to advance health worker training, how we might improve health systems through women’s leadership, and what it takes to still deliver quality primary care, often six feet away.

2020 was also the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife, a global recognition from the World Health Organization (WHO) of the integral ways better health for all is only possible through championing these two critical cadres. Over the year, as the case count rose, babies were born; wounds were mended; and preventive care reached thousands—all because of nurses and midwives.

Heading into 2021, the WHO is once again calling on the global community to unite behind essential cadres advancing health during the pandemic and beyond health and care workers. 2021 is the International Year of Health and Care Workers and at the Center for Health Worker Innovation, we join the global community in acting on our gratitude for all health workers by continuing to advance our mission to train, equip, and empower frontline health workers worldwide.

As we look ahead to a year of advocacy and recognition for health and care workers everywhere, here are some of the resources, facts and inspiration we are carrying with us to ensure this year counts. Join us.

5 Things We’re Reading

We can say this about 2020: there was no shortage of health topics to write about. We never could have predicted the challenges our communities would face this year. In 2021, we’ll continue to use our voice to ensure the health workforce emerges from this pandemic better supported and equipped than ever. Check our five favorite articles from 2020:

  1. More Equitable Health Systems? Empower Frontline Health Workers by Ben Davies and Joanne Peter, Johnson & Johnson
  2. How Data Empowers Health Workers - and Powers Health Systems Interview with Mitali Ayyangar, DataKind
  3. When Health Workers Need Help, This Partnership Has Their Backs by UNICEF
  4. 2020 Goalkeepers Report, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  5. What it Means to Champion Health Workers in 2020 by Lauren Moore, Johnson & Johnson

4 Podcasts We’re Listening To

We love hearing directly from frontline health workers and our partners. Our top four favorite podcasts from 2020 exemplify why we must continue to #BackTheFrontline:

  1. See You Now Ep. 18: Mental Health Pandemic with Barbara McLean
  2. Future of Global Healthcare Season 6 Ep 7 with Josh Nesbit, Medic Mobile
  3. University of Oxford Podcasts with Professor Sharon Brownie, Waikato Institute of Technology
  4. See You Now Ep. 31: Black Midwives & Mamas Matter with Dr. Joia Crear-Perry, National Birth Equity Collaborative

3 Partners We’re Following

We'd like to recommend three of our partners as they advocate for health and care workers in 2021. Check them out and learn how these partners are working to #BackTheFrontline and make #HealthForAll a reality.

And while you’re at it, don’t forget to check out the latest from @JNJGlobalHealth on Instagram and Twitter!

  1. LivingGoods works to empower community health workers to deliver life-saving interventions to the doorsteps of the underserved. Learn more on their Instagram, Twitter, and website.
  2. Nursing Now is a global campaign aimed at raising the profile and status of nursing worldwide. Follow along on their Instagram, Twitter, and website.
  3. Last Mile Health brings lifesaving healthcare to the world’s most remote communities. Learn more from their Instagram, Twitter, and website.

2 Statistics We’re Sharing

To best #BackTheFrontline, we must understand the challenges that face health systems, as well as the awesome impact of investing in health systems and health workers. Take a look at two key stats we’re thinking about as we kick off the new year:

  1. Investing in health systems and education are great buys! For every dollar invested in fully-scaled community health worker systems across sub-Saharan Africa, we get $10 in return, while every dollar invested in midwifery education for community-based services yields $16 in return.
  2. We’re facing a health worker shortage in the next decade. 18 million more health workers are needed in the next ten years to achieve universal health coverage by 2030.

1 Pledge We’re Making

As we usher in the Year of Health and Care Workers, we invite you to join us in a pledge to support, empower, and advocate for the health workforce in the new year.

At CHWI, we’re pledging to center the voices of frontline health workers in all that we do. What’s your pledge? Share the images below on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook with your pledge filled in and tag @jnjglobalhealth!