Where We Work
See our interactive map
African Health Ministers, IntraHealth International, and Frontline Health Workers Coalition are teaming up to push for this crucial legislation.
In letters to US Congress members this fall, Léonie Claudine Lougue (Minister of Health of Burkina Faso) and Michel Hamala Sidibe (Minister of Health and Social Affairs in Mali) called for a united response to the COVID-19 crisis.
“We respectfully request that the U.S. Congress support partner countries’ own leadership in building and strengthening the health workforce and cross-cutting health system capacity to respond to COVID-19 and to prevent, detect, and contain future infectious disease outbreaks,” they wrote. “Continued leadership from the U.S. government and international cooperation across countries are necessary to ensure that all people around the world are safer and more secure from global health threats.”
At least 44,000 health workers in Africa, 12,000 health workers in Asia, and 570,000 health workers in Latin America and the Caribbean have been infected with COVID-19, threatening their lives and overall health system capacity. Ninety percent of countries have experienced disruption to essential health services, with low- and middle-income countries reporting the greatest difficulties.
And even before the pandemic, the world faced a global shortage of 18 million health workers by 2030, mostly in low- and middle-income countries. No country will be safe from COVID-19 until every community around the world is.
With their letters, the health ministers attached the Frontline Health Workers Coalition’s Policy Recommendations for Sustainable Health Workforce Teams to Respond to COVID-19, which call on governments, donors, and implementing partners to take actions to address the current needs of frontline health workers in low- and middle-income countries in their efforts to control the spread of COVID-19.
The recommendations will also strengthen national health systems in the long-term by making them more resilient and ready to prevent, detect, and respond to future global health threats.
The ministers urged Congress to prioritize health workers and health systems in low- and middle-income countries in legislation they are considering, including emergency funding to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
US Congress went back in session last week. Members have still not passed a bill for supplemental COVID-19 funding. It is possible that a supplemental bill will not pass and that COVID-related funds could be integrated into regular appropriations for the upcoming fiscal year.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to pose unprecedented challenges for our world. We are thankful for the leadership of the U.S. government in supporting our countries and others around the globe to respond to the pandemic, including your committee’s work to prioritize global health and humanitarian assistance in the U.S. response. A united, collective response to the COVID-19 crisis is essential to progress in controlling this pandemic.
Emergency support for frontline health workers and health systems in developing countries will be a critical determinant of how quickly the world can contain and ultimately eliminate the threat that COVID-19 poses to human health and the global economy.
Investments in supporting countries’ health workforces and health systems are incredibly modest in comparison to the multi-trillion-dollar cost associated with the COVID-19 outbreak. These investments are a central pillar of the Global Health Security Agenda, an initiative for which U.S. leadership and international cooperation are vital. We are appreciative of your efforts to advance global health security legislation through the U.S. Congress and ask that you prioritize investments in the health workforce and health systems in these pieces of legislation. The attached recommendations from the Frontline Health Workers Coalition, an alliance of U.S.-based organizations–many of whom are partners in our countries’ delivery of health services, provide a framework for U.S. government support that we believe will allow the world to make significant progress against COVID-19 and in preventing future outbreaks.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the need to accelerate global efforts to ensure that countries have the strong and resilient health workforces and health systems necessary to prevent and respond to global health threats. We applaud your leadership in supporting countries to advance their national agendas to accomplish these goals. Continued leadership from the U.S. government and international cooperation across countries are necessary to ensure that all people around the world are safer and more secure from global health threats.
—Léonie Claudine Lougue, Minister of Health, Burkina Faso
—Michel Hamala Sidibe, Minister of Health and Social Affairs, Mali
IntraHealth International serves as the secretariat for the Frontline Health Workers Coalition. IntraHealth’s President Emeritus Pape Gaye liaised with both ministers’ offices to finalize the letters, and IntraHealth’s Advocacy team worked with our government affairs consultant, Kyle House Group, to deliver the African health ministers’ letters to offices of the chairs and ranking members of the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, the US House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, and the US Senate and House Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittees:
Get the latest updates from the blog and eNews