Best Investment for a Healthier World

Government Leaders Must Act Now For Health Workers

Watch this video, then share it with global leaders. Tell them statements and stats about health workers are not enough—they must act now to support frontline health workers.

A minimum of 115,000 health workers have died from COVID-19, and many others have left the health care field during the pandemic. 

We can expect more pandemics like COVID-19 in the future, yet health systems in many countries are still not prepared. This is a problem for all of us: viruses do not respect borders. Even before the pandemic the world was facing a massive shortage of health workers, mostly in low- and middle-income countries.

In this video, health workers and the Frontline Health Workers Coalition (FHWC) ask US and global leaders to act now and not wait for the next pandemic to strengthen and protect the workforce.

Key Opportunities for Bold Action

  • President Biden's Next Global COVID Summit: During a world leader summit to address COVID in September 2021, President Biden called for vaccinating 70% of the world. But, health workers are essential to administer COVID vaccines, before shipments expire, and to deliver urgent medical care. Many health workers are also unvaccinatedjust one in eight is fully vaccinated, the majority in richer nations. Follow up from this Summit, and plans for the next Summit this Spring, must consider the needs of health workers now and into the future. Government leaders should prioritize rapid COVID vaccination for all frontline health workers and provide those health workers with the support, protection, and equipment they need to deliver vaccines to everyone in need in their communities.
  • US Government Budget Appropriations: The US should commit additional emergency and long-term funding for the global COVID response, and to support the global health workforce. Several US-based global health organizations (led by FHWC members CARE and EGPAF) are teaming up to push the White House and Congress to commit at least $17 billion in new global COVID supplemental funding to reach the Biden Administration’s vaccination goal. We're joining them and asking that part of this funding be allocated to support frontline health workers around the world to immediately get shots into more arms. We're also requesting $100 million in the FY23 budget be dedicated to support health workers in low- and middle-income countries.
  • White House Health Workforce Initiative: The White House is developing an initiative to provide greater support to health workers in low- and middle-income countries. We're excited to have been in conversations about this new initiative. Share our letter to Administrator Power with our recommendations, including for USAID to lead this initiative and prioritize new, dedicated funding for health systems and health workers for the FY 23 Budget request. Also, urge those developing this initiative to consider African health experts' suggestions.

What You Can Do to Help

  • Share this video widely on social mediacheck out our social media toolkit for tips.
  • Tweet our calls to action, tagging your government leaders. Here are sample tweets:
    • Even before #COVID the world was facing a massive shortage of #HealthWorkers. We can expect more pandemics in the future, yet health systems in many countries are still not prepared. US & global leaders must #ActForHealthWorkers now & not wait any longer.

    • We ask world leaders to live up to their commitments to #EndCOVID and to #ActForHealthWorkers. Increased investment in health workers is required to achieve #Vaccines4All! Help share this video:

    • World leaders must #ActForHealthWorkers now. They can't wait any longer. Share this video and tag your policymaker.

    • We urge the @WhiteHouse to do much more than it has so far to end COVID globally, and protect and support frontline health workers.

  • Send this video to your members of Congress and members of Parliament, urging them to do more to support the health workforce.

5 Asks for Government Leaders Around the World

Our policy recommendations for COVID-19 call for immediate actions, including:

  1. End global COVID vaccine inequity and ensure all health workers are prioritized for vaccination; recruit and train the health workers needed to deliver the vaccine to all people.
  2. Allocate funding to support immediate and long-term health systems and workforce strengthening.
  3. Ensure safe and decent work for all health workers, including community health workers. Make personal protective equipment available and provide fair and timely pay. 
  4. Address the barriers women health workers face, including in remuneration and leadership opportunities. 
  5. Ensure health workers have access to health care themselves, including mental health services.

How US Policymakers Must Act for Health Workers

To truly end the pandemic, the US must immediately address the pandemic at a global level. 

  1. Congress should include $17 billion in new global emergency funding in its FY23 funding request to address global vaccine inequity. Part of this funding should be allocated to support frontline health workers around the world to immediately get shots into more arms.
  2. The Biden Administration should launch a new White House initiative, led by USAID, focused on strengthening the health workforce worldwide that is bold, ambitious, and comprehensive. The White House should propose new funding for this initiative to ensure enough skilled and supported health workers to deliver COVID vaccines, tests, and treatments and to provide long-term sustainable health workforce and systems strengthening. 
    • The White House should dedicate at least $500 million in new funding over the next five years for a new USAID Global Health Programs sub-account to support health workforce development and health systems strengthening in partner countries.
    • President Biden should include at least $100 million in initial funding for this new sub-account in his FY 23 budget request.