Honoring our Health Workers on World Health Day

Around the world today, many of our friends and colleagues are celebrating World Health Day. The day marks the anniversary of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) First World Health Assembly, which was held on April 7, 1948. Each year, the WHO chooses a theme for the day — this year it’s Food Safety — and it highlights the challenges and opportunities associated with the issue:

By highlighting global health issues that often fly under the radar, the WHO demonstrates its role as a leader in the field. But leadership can be found at the local level, too. Which is why the WHO and PSI, among many others, also dedicate April 8-12 to World Health Workers Week, honoring the people who serve as the first and often only line of care for so many around the world. When it comes to fighting diseases and improving health, these health workers are the most valuable resource we have.

Below we share the stories of five brave men and women who bring life-saving products, information and services every day to the world’s most vulnerable people. We’re grateful for their unwavering dedication and hard work in helping people lead healthier lives.

Below we share the stories of five brave men and women who bring life-saving products, information and services every day to the world’s most vulnerable people. We’re grateful for their unwavering dedication and hard work in helping people lead healthier lives.

Aggie

Aggie 1You won’t find many hospitals in rural Zambia, but you will find women like Aggie. Every day, she wakes up at 5am worrying about rural women in Zambia- women who married early and have 16 children, women struggling with unintended pregnancies, and women with no access to contraception. Then, she puts on her dancing shoes and gets to work.

Aggie has been a midwife for more than 34 years, and educates people about contraception with song and dance. Typically, women in rural Zambia marry early – usually by age 14. They begin having children right away and have difficulty negotiating contraception use with their partners.

In her commitment to helping these women take control of their reproductive health, Aggie also provides a range of contraceptive options in high volume clinics across the region. In just a year and a half, PSI midwives like her helped 78,580 women who want contraception.

For Aggie, there is no uncertainty about how these rural women view her work. “When you see them dance, you know they really appreciate the service.”

 

Huong

By day, Huong is a caring mother and a supportive wife, but by night she visits beer halls and targets male clients of sex workers in Vietnam to teach them about how to protect themselves and sexual partners from HIV transmission.

Huong works diligently to motivate her community to fight HIV. In doing this work, she has found fulfillment, confidence and hope for herself and her family. Watch her story:

Tears

Tears 1In Zimbabwe, a trip to a beauty parlor can save a woman’s life because hairdressers like Tears Wenzira don’t just style hair.

As one of more than 2,500 hairdressers who work with PSI, Tears helps prevent HIV transmission by talking to her clients about using the female condom. After she develops a relationship with her clients, Tears explains how HIV is transmitted, how the female condom can be used and how it can help prevent the spread of HIV.

Tears had once dreamed of becoming a nurse like her mother. But when her parents passed away when she was 15, she had to drop out of secondary school to care for her grandmother.

Her work with PSI has brought her closer to her dream, while enabling her to build a solid financial future for her family. Each month she sells 100 female condoms to her clients and makes a profit of $9 – enough to buy basic groceries like bread and milk.

Further, hairdressers like Tears are getting results. More than one million female condoms are distributed through this network of 2,500 hairdressers across the country.

 P’Boy

For 15 years of his life, P’boy was lost. He injected himself with drugs nearly every day using unsterilized needles he kept in the fold near a pile of garbage.

But those days are over. Now, P’Boy is a peer educator for PSI/Thailand’s O-Zone drop-in center in Bangkok. O-zone is a branded network of centers that provides people who inject drugs with health services, information, clean injecting equipment and condoms. On an average day, P’Boy meets with about 50 current and recovering drug users, distributing clean injecting equipment and teaching them about the risk of HIV infections.

Watch his story:

 

Dr. Aye Aye Mu
Aye Aye blogMany years ago, Dr. Aye Aye Mu purchased a small clinic nestled next to her home in the capital city of Yangon, Myanmar. She expertly juggles her roles as a mother, doctor and small business owner to provide for her family and care for her community. At her clinic, she provides health services such as contraception, tuberculosis screening and treatment, diarrhea treatment, and more.

She was one of the first doctors to join PSI’s Sun Quality Health Network, a network of franchised health centers. As a member, she stays up to date on the latest research and medical best practices and makes sure she always has the necessary instruments and medicines to provide the highest-quality care to her clients.

Dr. Aye Aye embodies the best of the network. Her dedication to the families of her community is unwavering, and she consistently serves the very poor population in her neighborhood in Yangon with affordable, high quality health services.