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10 Health Workers Who Inspired Us in 2014

We met some amazing health workers this year. They work hard every day to keep their communities healthy—and many put their lives on the line to do it.As 2014 comes to a close, we’re thinking of these health workers—and many more than we can list here—who’ve inspired us this year.

1. Ebola Fighters

TIME named Ebola fighters Person of the Year in 2014. The editors couldn’t have made a better choice.Since March, health workers have been on the front lines of the Ebola epidemic. Hundreds from their ranks have died.But many still show up for work every day, at great personal risk. Their efforts to contain the disease will likely save millions of lives.Read: Why Health Workers Are Time Magazine’s Person of the Year

2. Dr. Eno Biney

Dr. Eno Biney is an emergency medicine specialist at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi, the second-largest city in Ghana. She’s part of a new cohort of health workers that are changing the way emergency care happens in the country.“I chose to specialize in emergency medicine because I realized that it was one of the most lacking specialties in our country,” Eno says. “There wasn’t any form of organized emergency treatment of patients.” Watch: Emergency Care Comes into Focus in Ghana

3. Professor Kalilou Ouattara

“Fistula is not an illness, it is a careless neglect,” says Professor Kalilou Ouattara of Mali. “It is a failure to help someone in danger.”When IntraHealth first started strengthening obstetric fistula services in Mali, Professor Ouattara was the only surgeon who knew how to treat complicated cases. Now he’s trained 13 others—and will train at least 15 more.Read: More Surgeons Like Professor Kalilou Ouattara

4. Fatimata Touré, International Woman of Courage

When Gao, Mali, was attacked in 2012, extremist rebels took over the local hospital and turned many clients—including 20 women who were recovering from obstetric fistula repair surgeries—out of their hospital beds and onto the streets.Fatimata Touré helped find the women and made sure they had shelter and care.That’s one reason US First Lady Michelle Obama presented one of ten International Women of Courage Awards to Fatimata this year.Read: After a Lifetime on the Ground, a Day in the CloudsandState Department Honors Malian Community Mobilizer with International Women of Courage Award

5. Nurse Joyce Samson Kiribiti

Nurse Joyce Samson Kiribiti is usually hard at work in the Shinyanga Regional Hospital in Shinyanga region, Tanzania. But she takes time away from her usual duties to help out at a rural HIV outreach clinic, providing around 10 voluntary medical male circumcisions per day.Joyce loves working at the outreach clinic. But her favorite job as a nurse?"I love delivering the mommies," she says.Read: Meanwhile, in the VMMC Tent

6. Alfred Felix, HIV peer counselor

Every day Alfredo provides HIV education and gets HIV-positive clients on treatment. He’s a peer counselor with the Department of HIV at Jaime Mota Regional Hospital in Barahona, Dominican Republic.“I’ve always felt motivated to work in the community to inform people,” he says.Read: HIV Peer Counselor in the Dominican Republic Shares Impact of His Work

7. Habiba Shaban Agong, senior nursing officer

In Habiba's rural Ugandan health center, she says, “things were really a bit appalling.”There weren’t nearly enough health workers to meet client demand. Water was unreliable, beds were broken, and mattresses were torn.But Habiba made some changes after attending a Human Resources for Health Leadership and Management Program. Now she and her colleagues are delivering more babies and child mortality in her facility is dropping.Read: A Nurse Midwife’s Experience with Leadership and Management Training

8. Dr. Christian Osae Obirikorang

What's most exciting about being a lecturer of molecular medicine at the School of Medical Sciences in Ghana? Dr. Obirikorang tells us.“We are going to improve knowledge transfer from the faculty members to the students,” he says. “It's going to improve the whole health system, at the end of day.”Watch: Dr. Christian Osae Obirikorang: "I'm a Health Worker"  

9. Nurse Phylis Cherono Siele

Phylis Cherono Siele is a nurse in the comprehensive care unit at Tenwek Mission Hospital in Kenya. In this one-minute video, she tells viewers about her happiest day at work.Watch: One Nurse’s Best Day at Work

10. The Bakel District Health Team

In Bakel, a rural district in northeast Senegal, there is no hospital—just one health center, 19 health posts, and seven health huts. Working in those facilities are two doctors, three pharmacists, eight nurse midwives, and 23 nurses and nursing assistants.They, along with 52 community health workers, care for all 96,000 people in Bakel.But the Bakel District Health Team is known for consistently offering high-quality care despite the challenges. That’s one reason they won this year’s Health Innovation Award.Read: Outstanding Senegalese Health Workers Honored at Second Annual Health Worker Awards Ceremony