Imagine having a stroke in a place where the nearest health facility is a two-hour walk away. And should you manage to find your way there, a trained provider isn’t available to assist you. Consider what would happen if the pharmacy ran out of the insulin you needed to manage your diabetes — and all of the other pharmacies within 50 miles of your home were also out of supplies. This would be unusual for those of us who live in the U.S. or Europe, but it is all too often a reality for those in the developing world, where the burden of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) — cancers, cardiovascular disease, chronic lung disease and diabetes — is the greatest. Health workers are crucial to preventing and treating chronic disease. In recognition of World Health Worker Week, we call on everyone to support efforts to strengthen the human resource capacity needed to tackle chronic disease effectively and efficiently around the globe. Access to well-trained health workers when you need them should not be an accident of geography.
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Louis Galambos is a professor of history at Johns Hopkins University and co-director of the Institute for Applied Economics, Global Health, and the Study of Business Enterprise. Jeffrey L. Sturchio is senior partner at Rabin Martin, a visiting scholar at the Johns Hopkins Institute for Applied Economics, Global Health, and the Study of Business Enterprise, and former president and CEO of the Global Health Council. Galambos and Sturchio are co-authors of Noncommunicable Diseases in the Developing World: Addressing Gaps in Global Policy and Research
Tina Flores, MS is a Director at Rabin Martin. She has more than a dozen years of experience in global health communications, policy, research and stakeholder engagement, working with NGOs, donors, multilateral organizations and the private sector.