Frontline Healthworkers

By Trevor Snapp for Intrahealth

Intrahealth supports health workers around the world to better serve their communities. Much attention has been given to stamping out persistent and deadly diseases like Malaria and TB. However few people understand the dramatic, but less reported benefits of empowering health workers and helping governments give them the tools and skills to save lives. These skills persist long after a program ends.

I traveled to India to document the work of frontline health workers in rural communities. Frontline health workers are respected village women with basic educations who are trained to advocate for their community when they need to access the public health system. They provide basic medical care and in particular help mothers deliver babies safely. Nearly a billion people don’t have access to health services, and frontline health workers are critical in bridging this gap.

Intrahealth works with these women through a comprehensive training and support program that connects the highest level of district government with the most remote community health worker, using and strengthening the existing system.

These frontline workers are part of a quiet revolution called task shifting which means giving the lowest level health workers the highest possible responsibility they can handle. Frontline health workers deliver babies and nurses do surgery. This allows more people have access to more treatments and doctors are freed up to work on the most critical cases. Perhaps, most importantly, task shifting delegates out power. The health workers are empowered as they are trusted and believed in.


Photographer: Trevor Snapp / professional

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Award Year: 2011

Non Profit: Intrahealth

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