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India: Health workers visit the UK to tell their stories

Last week, three Indian community health workers, Pawan, Shahajahan and Nadeem, headed home after a week in the UK. By now, they will be back at work, in the poorest parts of Delhi and Rajasthan. All of them work on the frontline, saving the lives of some of the poorest children in India.

Pawan, Nadeem and Shahajahan with members of Save the Children’s UK team


Before the trip, they had never left their villages, let alone been on a plane or in a new country.

They came to Britain to tell their stories to other campaigners and policy makers and to help make sure that the UK is doing everything it can to address the global health-worker crisis. They also came to learn about the work that this country’s health workers do to help children survive and thrive.

Pawan’s story

Pawan, from Delhi, met a woman who had recently moved to the city; she was pregnant for the sixth time. All her previous children died before their fifth birthday.

Pawan ensured that she had all the necessary antenatal and health check-ups, provided her with medication, and gave health and nutrition advice during and after the pregnancy so that both the mother and baby would be healthy.

Eighteen months later, baby Sultan is fit and healthy. Thanks to Pawan and other community health workers, Sultan now stands a much stronger chance of fulfilling his potential.

Nadeem’s story

Nadeem recently met a woman who was seven-and-a-half month pregnant and anemic. She immediately changed the woman’s diet to address the iron deficiency and kept a close eye on her throughout her pregnancy.

Despite her efforts, the baby was born malnourished. Nadeem supported the mother to breastfeed for the baby’s  first six months of life and made sure that the little girl got all the nutrients that she needed to develop properly. The baby is now 15 months old and a healthy weight.

More health workers, better supported

The visit took place as part of Save the Children’s ongoing campaign for more and better supported health workers. We have been working with a group of UK-based health workers who are determined to do something about the world’s severe shortage of health workers and the devastating impact this has on child mortality rates.

Every year, 6.6 million children around the world die of preventable causes. That’s millions of children missing out on life-saving care – and frequently, that lack is fatal.

You can help us address the global health worker crisis. Post a comment on the Department For International
Development’s (DFID) Facebook page asking how they plan to tackle this crisis.

Paste in our example or write your own:

“Please make a
commitment to support more healthworkers so no baby is born without the
life-saving support of a midwife.”

With the global health worker shortage getting worse all the time, we urgently need to know how our government is planning to
address this crisis.

This is a fight we can win.

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