Front line health workers are known to provide services directly to communities, particularly in rural and remote areas. No country can reach its best potential in the absence of such professionals. They are needed at every step and stage of development. With the outbreak of the recent pandemic, Covid-19, the significance of such health workers has come to the forefront. In a country like India, the need for frontline health workers is felt more than ever before. They are the first, and in some cases – the only, link to basic essential healthcare services for millions of Indians. They provide lifesaving treatment and care. Investing in the training of these professionals will not only generate employment opportunities but also lead to economic and health returns.
Who are Frontline Health Workers?
Though they have been an integral part of society for a long time, it is in recent times that they have caught the attention of millions of people and top-notch officials. They comprise of all kinds of health workers – community health workers, nurses, pharmacists, midwives, and doctors, to name a few. They provide care and treatment directly to the communities. They have reached even the most remote areas of the country.
They help families in identifying health conditions and link patients to specialty care whenever the need be. They not only treat common infections but also provide immunizations. They are considered a trusted source of information and assist their communities to respond, prevent, and detect harmful diseases and infections such as malaria, diarrhea, tuberculosis, pneumonia, and HIV. They also help communities understand the importance of taking precautions against emerging and life-threatening diseases like Zika and Ebola.
They also treat and prevent noncommunicable ailments such as heart diseases and diabetes that are affecting the productivity and health of communities across the globe let alone in India. They are much more than frontline health workers to the families in the rural and remote areas of the country. They help families manage and understand the growing importance of hygiene and cleanliness.
This might be surprising, but it is true that the global frontline health workforce mainly comprises women. Strategic and greater investment in health employment has great opportunities and potential for women empowerment. To maximize this potential, government and private sector need to take rigorous measures and steps.
Healthcare interventions need health workers to deliver them to the communities and public, however, because of a lack of healthcare professionals the job does not get done timely, or in some cases, the right medical assistance never reaches them. Millions of people suffer or die because they do not have access to basic medical services. Also, many frontline healthcare workers either lack training, support, and equipment or are underutilized to serve their communities.
To make the best use of their potential, several training programs have been now introduced for frontline health workers. As they are the backbone of an effective healthcare system, the right guidance can make a world of difference not only in their profession but also for the goodwill of the community.