Who Are We Celebrating for World Health Worker Week? We’re Starting with Nadine from the DRC

CapacityPlus is celebrating health workers all week long, as part of the first ever World Health Worker Week! Throughout the week, global health organizations and projects will educate people on who health workers are and why they’re important. We’ll also advocate for taking actions to solve challenges and address the global health workforce shortage.

Each day we will feature amazing health workers from our “I’m a Health Worker” video series, which highlights how CapacityPlus places health workers at the center of our efforts to strengthen the health workforce. Embracing the World Health Organization’s broad definition, the videos feature health workers from lab technicians to nurses, midwives, and doctors to ministry officials.

Simply put, these health workers are our caretakers and educators. They are our neighbors, friends, and family. They are on the frontlines helping people every day.

Today, we honor health workers like Nadine Mankoto who dedicate their lives to serving others. Nadine knew even at a very young age that she wanted to be a health worker. “I said to myself, I am going to do this,” she recalls. “I loved the profession, and I also felt compassion when I saw sick people.”

That feeling pushed her to become a nurse so she could help others. Nadine is now a nurse working in internal medicine at Kintambo General Hospital in Kinshasha, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

The DRC needs more health workers like Nadine to provide vital health services to its people. With less than 1 nurse, midwife, and doctor for every 1,000 people, it is one of 57 countries defined by the WHO as having a severe shortage of health workers (the WHO recommends 2.3).

CapacityPlus works in more than 20 countries to support people like Nadine to become health workers, serve in the areas they are needed most, and stay there. In the DRC, we work with the Nursing Education Partnership Initiative to improve the preservice education of nurses and midwives. We used our Bottlenecks and Best Buys Approach to conduct assessments at seven nursing and midwifery schools, and the results are now guiding the development and implementation of plans for scaling up the number and quality of graduates.

To provide better services to her patients and save more lives, Nadine wishes she had access to proper medical supplies and equipment like the ones she practiced on. “Since finishing my studies, I haven’t really had the chance to work somewhere that was equipped with all the materials I learned to use when I was in school.” In our health worker education advocacy brief, we urge countries to create formal agreements between schools and local health facilities to ensure students gain practical work experience and develop key competencies. We also urge schools to update curricula to respond to their community’s health service delivery needs.

We invite you to join us this week. Check out our post tomorrow and meet Susan, a midwife in Uganda with a huge smile and a big heart, and learn about some challenges she faces. Follow #WHWW and #healthworkerscount on Twitter, and add your voice to the conversation.

Help CapacityPlus spread the word about strengthening the health workforce. Follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

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 Thanks to Rachel Deussom for interviewing Nadine.