In 2020, we reached 449,600 health workers.
If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that health workers are essential to us all. But what’s essential to health workers?
They need regular training, fair and decent housing, and steady paychecks. Protection from infection and burnout. Supportive supervisors and strong managers and the right technology at their fingertips.
We make sure they have it all.
This year, our USAID HIV Care and Treatment Project made sure health workers in Central America were trained on the digital health tools they need to reach clients with crucial HIV services—including during the dual disasters of COVID-19 and back-to-back hurricanes. For example, they used alerTar—a rapid text messaging system—to send reminders to clients to take their medications, notify them about upcoming clinic appointments, and generate immediate alerts when clients missed appointments or were at risk of stopping antiretroviral therapy, so that health workers could respond rapidly.
"Our objective during this COVID-19 emergency is to keep working,” says Siro Argueta, the project’s country representative in El Salvador, "so that all patients with HIV continue to adhere to their treatment."
facility-based teams provided with supportive supervision or mentoring
messages sent to or from health workers via a digital health technology to keep them safe, informed, & prepared
At IntraHealth, we look at the whole health worker and the whole health system. And we know that for both to be successful, data are key.
This year, as the COVID-19 pandemic evolved, we worked with national governments to help them make data-based predictions of how many health workers and hospital beds were needed—and where to address outbreaks—and we did it quickly and remotely.
"No other organization in Mali is doing this type of data-based forecasting," says Cheick Touré, IntraHealth’s country leader in Mali. "Based on these results, the country has been able to predict hotspots more accurately and make sure more health workers are available when and where clients need them."
This is just one of the ways we help our partner countries use data to build strong health workforces—so they can serve their communities today and plan for an even healthier tomorrow.
organizations using data-informed workplace planning to realign their workforce
digital health tools developed or implemented to keep health workers safe, connect them to clients, & improve their skills
We think differently about the value we bring to our partners, to the global health field, and to the communities we serve. We invest in partnerships that minimize power imbalances and lead to sustainable global and local results.
For example, through our USAID-funded Accelerating Support to Advanced Local Partners (ASAP) project, we’ve worked with 50 local entities in 13 countries to prepare them to work directly with USAID and other major development funders so they're ready to manage, tailor, and drive improvements in their own countries.
In Tanzania, we provided technical assistance to T-MARC Tanzania and the Association of Private Health Facilities in Tanzania (APHFTA) to prepare them for direct partnership with the US government. As a result, T-MARC was able to increase its funding from the US government from $3 million to $19 million and APHFTA revised its financial management policies and procedures and provided training to strengthen governance and strategic managment.
Now, both of these organizations are more efficient and effective, and are providing more health services to their communities.
local partners around the world, including health facilities, governments, businesses, religious leaders, youth advocates, & more
of our country leaders are from the countries or regions in which they work
local entities in Africa we're preparing to work directly with USAID & other major development funders
We work with schools, training centers, and local leaders to educate student health workers, integrate them into communities, and keep their training up-to-date throughout their careers.
In Kenya, for example, we’ve helped 35,800+ student health workers pay for school through the Afya Elimu Fund, an affordable loan program that helps low-income students finish their health professional education without interruption.
"We’ve graduated over 11,000 students," says Janet Muriuki, country director and program lead for the Human Resources for Health project in Kenya. "But we're not satisfied when they’ve gotten an education—we’re aiming for gainful employment so they can pay back their loans, have an impact as health workers, and provide for their families as they provide health services to Kenyans."
Now we're working to transfer the fund to Kenya's Health Education Loans Board for local ownership of the project, which will continute to increase the number of students graduating from Kenya’s health training institutions and improve the quality and applicability of their training.
total financial aid IntraHealth provided for student health workers (including scholarships & low-interest student loans)
health workers graduated from IntraHealth-supported training institutions
We’re committed to achieving an AIDS-free generation by 2030—and we believe health workers are the key to making this vision a reality.
Through the Tohara Plus project in Tanzania, IntraHealth is strengthening and scaling up a comprehensive package of high-quality, safe services for voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) among adolescents and adult men in Tanzania, thereby reducing recipients’ risk of contracting HIV through heterosexual intercourse by at least 60%.
In 2020, COVID-19 threatened to halt the program's activities. But the Tohara Plus team responded quickly. They helped health workers adapt to pandemic conditions and provide 186,000+ men with VMMC services (exceeding the project's goal by 17%). Over 184,000 of those clients returned for a post-circumcision visit within 14 days of their procedure, and over 91% of clients came to their second follow-up visit.
"We involve and engage the government from the national level to the community level,” says Lucy Mphuru, country director and Tohara Plus project director. “Now the government regularly allocates their own health workers for temporary VMMC work, even in regions our project isn’t directly supporting. It’s a great example of country ownership and it’s more sustainable. The model of this approach could be used in most understaffed regions to get stronger results like these in a shorter time.”
individuals tested for HIV & received results
individuals on antiretroviral treatment
individuals with suppressed viral load
We're committed to helping countries provide the family planning and reproductive health services their communities need.
Over the past 10 years, our Civil Society for Family Planning project has helped West Africa add 3.8 million family planning users and doubled the number of women using modern contraceptives in the region.
And this year, we've helped women in West Africa get the most out of each visit to their health facilities with our new integrated service delivery model, which means they can access family planning services and a wide range of other services, all at the same health center.
Our "I Choose" campaign broadcasts radio messages in local languages in five cities across Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, and Senegal to let women and girls know when and where they can access family planning services and the benefits of these services. And our "My Choice My Future" campaign promotes open communication about adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive health among 15 - 24-year-olds across francophone West Africa through Facebook and WhatsApp.
"Being able to better know one’s body down to details, being able ask to questions on pregnancy prevention, and learning about options of contraception has been the best thing this campaign has offered," says a young woman who participated in the "My Choice My Future" campaign.
new contraceptive users
unintended pregnancies averted due to contraceptives (estimated)
maternal deaths avoided due to contraceptives (estimated)
Mothers and babies in Uganda have greater access to lifesaving health services through our Regional Health Integration to Enhance Services in Eastern (RHITES-E) Uganda Activity. So when COVID-19 began spreading in March 2020, RHITES-E worked with the Ugandan Ministry of Health to keep those services available.
When program data showed that mothers had stopped coming to health centers for fear of contracting COVID-19, the RHITES-E team worked with local health workers to build back confidence and trust in health services, including bringing mothers back to care. Health workers joined community meetings to talk about COVID-19 standards of practice, integrated COVID-19 into health education sessions on maternal and child health to bust myths and address fears, and asked counselors to join them during home visits to address barriers to care, such as stigma and discrimination.
Together we improved early detection of pregnancies, increased the proportion of mothers attending their antenatal care visits, provided more respectful care for women, and saw greater engagement among men and families.
“The midwife is very friendly, and I feel comfortable coming here with my baby to get health services,” says mother Vicky Agejo. “The client flow moves quickly and if there are delays, the midwife comes over and talks to us to reassure us that we will be served.”
pregnant women attended at least four antenatal care visits
children under 5 treated for malaria
births made safer through active management of the third stage of labor
Frontline health workers are every country's first line in detecting, reporting, and responding to emerging threats to global health security. So when the COVID-19 pandemic began, we used our existing global health tools and data-driven approaches to help health workers respond.
Throughout Africa and Central America, we quickly adapted our programs, training and equipping local health workers on disease surveillance and response, infection prevention, occupational safety and health, and much more. And we created new COVID-19 health worker vaccination modules for our digital health tools, iHRIS and mHero.
In Rwanda, for example, our Ingobyi project team partnered with the Ministry of Health and the Rwanda Biomedical Centre to prepare health workers to manage COVID-19 cases, strengthen contact tracing, procure supplies and medical equipment for isolation and treatment centers, and much more. Together we trained around 450 health workers on disease surveillance, infection prevention, triage, and COVID-19 case management.
"I’m not scared of COVID-19," says midwife Ester, whose role caring for mothers and babies at the Rwamagana Provincial Hospital in Rwanda changed in early March 2020. Now, she identifies and investigates suspected COVID-19 cases, conducting screenings for everyone who enters the hospital. "I am just happy I am contributing to saving lives."
pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE) purchased for health workers
IntraHealth programs received funding increases to respond to COVID-19
From Our CEO
More than any other year in our lifetimes, 2020 shined a light on health workers—not just our global need for more of them, but also their urgent need for strong systems and safe, decent working environments. Health workers are crucial today as we deploy COVID-19 vaccines around the world. They're also the key to every health service, every day.
To us here at IntraHealth, the road ahead is clear: we must invest in health workers.
To overcome this pandemic, to prevent new ones, to promote gender equality and people-centered care, to stop maternal and child deaths, to sustain HIV epidemic control, to achieve universal health coverage, and to finally ensure everyone everywhere has the health care they need to thrive.
This is why we invest in health workers—from their first days in school all the way throughout their careers. It’s also why we invest in local organizations and think differently about the value and services we can offer.
This past year tested us all. And there are great challenges ahead. But together, we can invest in our global health workforce and protect those on the front lines—just as they protect us every day.
Give the Gift of Health Care
Health workers have been on the front lines of every global health crisis and every victory.
They have saved and improved millions of lives. But disease outbreaks, a changing climate, and a new era of international development mean health workers need to be prepared for the unforeseen challenges ahead. And you can help them.
Investing in local health workers is one of the best ways to improve health, stop epidemics, and end poverty. Your support helps deliver health care on the front lines—where it’s needed most.