“Access to health care remains a huge challenge in my community, and there is still so much misinformation. Anything we can do to help our clients get the health services they need, when it suits them, is going to truly help our communities stay healthy and thrive.”—Bupe Sinkala, Site Coordinator in Zambia and mothers2mothers (m2m) Spokeswoman.
Accessing the care you need when you need it should be a basic right. But this is far from being the reality for too many of Bupe’s peers in Zambia—and for millions across sub-Saharan Africa more widely. In fact, across the African continent, more than half of its people—around 615 million—are still not accessing the health care they need.
Beyond the numbers, this has a very tangible impact, often with life and death consequences, for the women, children, adolescents, and families m2m works with. From distant and under-resourced health clinics, to an increasingly complex web of health areas that affect our clients, the road to creating health for all is far from being smooth.
So as the world marks Universal Health Coverage Day today, under the theme “Build the world we want: A healthy future for all,” we at m2m couldn’t be more clear about what it will take to build the fairer, healthier world we want.
It comes down to one thing: Health Care For Families Who Need It Most, Delivered by Women Who Know Them Best.
Serving the needs of our clients and meeting them where they are has always been the driving force of what we do at m2m. At the heart of our work is our incredibly skilled, inspiring, and dedicated frontline team of female Community Health Workers—the almost 1,800 women living with HIV currently trained and employed by m2m as Mentor Mothers. They are the bridge to health care that is building the foundations of the healthier, more equal world the communities we work with need and deserve.
But a world where all can aspire to a healthy future will only come to fruition if we truly recognise the value and contribution of Community Health Workers and invest in their potential—from adequate and sustained support and training, to formal recognition and accreditation and fair remuneration, the time to match words with action is now.
With this year being about making smarter investments and accelerating efforts towards “Health for All,” the numbers speak for themselves—every $1 invested in Community Health Workers can generate as high as $10 in social and economic return. That is why—through m2m’s 2022-2026 Strategic Plan—Community Health Workers, like Bupe, will bring even more transformational change to their communities. By delivering integrated primary health care services for HIV and beyond, they are making it easier for people to get the services they need, whenever and wherever they need them. By working with governments and implementing partners, they are providing an invaluable added resource and connection to communities, and leaving no one behind.
“I’m really excited about the new chapter that m2m is embarking on because we are looking at the health challenges that my community faces in a broader and more comprehensive way—and tackling them more purposefully as a Primary Health Care organisation. Not only will this help us better support our clients—it also means that we will be able to double down on our work to end HIV and reach even more HIV-negative people who are facing other health challenges,” adds Bupe.
Next year will see us redouble efforts and renew our firm commitment to this vital layer of the efficient health systems that we will need to build to create a healthy future for all across the ten African countries that m2m works in. And we hope you will join us on this journey!
What will it take to create a healthier world? Find out in this video.