Confronted with the problem of how to bring basic medical care to remote rural areas, Ethiopian Health Minister Dr. Tedros Adhanom formed a network of health workers. They distribute supplies and teach about preventive measures on a grassroots level.
What if you were responsible for the health of 80 million people in one of the poorest countries in the world, where half of the population does not have access to any medical care?
DR. TEDROS ADHANOM [Ethiopian Health Minister]
We're saying that has to change, and our government is saying, enough is enough.
To address the lack of resources in the farthest, neediest corners of Ethiopia, the health minister launched a program to train and deploy an army of 30,000 women he calls "health extension workers." These high school educated women act as walking clinics.
DR. TEDROS ADHANOM
If you ensure transfer of skills and knowledge to our families, individuals and communities, they can produce their own health.
The government trains two health extension workers for every village to distribute 16 different health packages that include: malaria nets, contraceptives, medication, and vaccines. Because they are on the front lines, health extension workers help their community by teaching preventive measures.
WOMAN [Health Extension Worker]
After you have completed all of this ... you should wash your hands in this place.”
DR. TEDROS ADHANOM
So you're converting millions of people into execution power. So it's changing family by family, then the whole village. Then village by village, district by district, and then the whole country.
Living Proof: Real Lives. Real Progress.
Since the launch of the Health Extension Worker program, malaria has been cut by 50 percent. Global partners continue to support the program with training, diagnostic test kits, medicines, and vaccines.
Living Proof: Real Lives. Real Progress. www.one.org/livingproof