Back in May, I had the unique opportunity to see Save the Children’s work on the ground in India. A big part of Save the Children’s strategy is the employment and training of Frontline Health Care Workers on the ground where oftentimes access to health care is severely limited.
On a steamy hot day in late-May, Jennifer James (Founder of Mom Bloggers for Social Good) and me got to visit The Indira Kalyan Camp, an unauthorized slum inside Delhi to meet with some of the amazing Frontline Health Care Workers providing hope, care and saving lives.
Although India has some of the highest levels of under age five mortality (1 in 5 of all under age 5 deaths in the world are in India) and a high level of maternal deaths, India has witnessed tremendous progress over the past two decades fighting to save the lives of mothers and children. A decade ago close to 75,000 women died during childbirth every year and this number has been reduced to 56,000 in 2010. Much of this progress could not have been achieved without the unbelievable dedication, commitment and sacrifice of the many Frontline Health Care Workers on the ground.
While we were at the camp, we gathered for a half hour listening to the women tell us about their lives and what a typical day was like on the job. We spent some time speaking with Sharmila, an Aanganwari worker who has worked for 19 years in the community providing care for women and children. Sharmila’s life is not easy. She rises early and works a full day seeing hundreds of patients for six days a week. Yet you could tell by her warm, caring smile that she loved her job and understood how important she was to the mothers and children she sees. She has saved many lives and does it unselfishly and with love and respect.
Last year I was honored to write about a new kind of award given to the countless amazing Frontline Health Care Workers around the world who are saving lives on the ground. Often these workers work around the clock sometimes in dangerous parts of the world in a selfless, heroic effort to help others. Sadly their tremendous work goes unnoticed while other superstars relish in the limelight. Save the Children’s REAL Awards is a way to shine the spotlight on these phenomenal people and even you can get involved.
About the REAL AWARDS: Who is your REAL inspiration?
The REAL Awards is a first-of-its-kind, global awards platform designed to develop greater respect and appreciation for the lifesaving care that health workers provide in the U.S. and around the world. Through this effort, we aim to increase awareness and understanding of the universal and urgent need for more trained and supported health workers every where.
Now through October 25th marks the nomination period for the REAL Awards. You can nominate the following types of health workers (see below for in depth definitions of each type of health worker):
- Nurse Practitioners
- Hospice Care Workers
- Physician Assistants
- Community Health Workers
- public health officers
- General Health Practitioners.
Starting September 23, 2013 the American public will be asked to visit www.theREALawards.com to nominate and vote for inspiring U.S.-based and global health workers making a difference in their communities and
The nomination period will be followed by a public, online voting period for the US nominees and in January 2014, all REAL Awards honorees will be
announced. REAL Awards trophy presentations will take place in April 2014.
If you know a deserving health worker, please nominate him or her at therealwards.com by October 25, 2013.
Definitions of Health Workers:
Clinician who diagnoses and treats health conditions while focusing on disease prevention and health management.
Focused on the care of individuals, families, and communities so they may attain, maintain, or recover optimal health.
A physician or surgeon who practices medicine to promote, maintain or restore health.
A person who provides care and comfort for people who are terminally ill.
Someone trained to assist women in childbirth.
Someone qualified to assist a physician and carry out routine clinical procedures.
COMMUNITY HEALTH WORKER
Members of a community who provide basic health and medical care close to home.
A person who instructs and counsels on the proper use and medicines.
PUBLIC HEALTH OFFICER
Someone who protects and improves a community’s health by organizing community efforts focused on basic health care and information.