The Astellas Global Health Foundation Celebrates International Women's Day by Spotlighting CARE's Efforts to Empower Female Health Workers

CARE efforts create valuable leadership opportunities for women to help address disaster preparedness and response


This International Women's Day, we reflect on the importance of achieving gender equality as a critical consideration for a sustainable future.1

One of the most critical components in the fight against COVID-19 has been protecting and supporting the individuals who provide healthcare to patients and communities impacted by the pandemic. The need for continued progress is critical, particularly among health workers, 70 percent of whom are women, and as society currently has millions fewer trained workers than are needed to help when a disaster or other major shock to the health system strikes.2

CARE has utilized two grants from the Astellas Global Health Foundation (AGHF) to make important strides in supporting efforts that empower women to prepare for and respond to disasters. These include COVID-19 activities CARE views as critical learning opportunities for health care workers to apply in responding to future pandemics and disasters:

  • CARE used an AGHF grant awarded in 2021 to equip, train, and protect nearly 800,000 people in remote, underserved districts and communities in Nepal and Honduras with comprehensive COVID-19 prevention measures and vaccination campaigns.
  • This followed AGHF funding in 2020 which supported CARE's efforts in South Sudan and Ethiopia for community education to combat misinformation about COVID-19; strengthen healthcare infrastructure through preparedness, surveillance and response; empower, train and educate local women leaders, including community health workers; and increase water, sanitation and hygiene support.
  • These AGHF grants helped CARE to bridge significant gaps that were not addressed by other funding sources in these countries. CARE efforts supported training of health workers, the majority of whom were women, on case management; provision of personal protective equipment (PPE); risk communication and community engagement; deployment of additional health workers in the community; and production and dissemination of infection, prevention and control and information (IPC) education and communication materials. The work also supported improvements to water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) and IPC infrastructure, including construction of incinerators and latrines in the supported health facilities.

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CARE efforts are enabling health care workers, the majority of whom are women, to receive critical education and training that may improve disaster support and access to health services during future crises. The photo above features a frontline health worker in Nepal.


"Pandemic preparedness requires gender equality: equal recognition, support, and fair pay for all health workers," cited a recent CARE flagship report.3 "The glimmers of success in COVID-19 that came from investments in women health workers, their skills, and equality in health systems. Investment in gender equality -- particularly women health workers -- must be considered a core preparedness action."

"The Astellas Global Health Foundation is proud to have supported CARE and looks forward to continuing to help charitable organizations by investing in gender equality-inclusive initiatives to help improve access to health, build resilient communities, and provide disaster support," said Shingo Iino, Ph.D., president of the Astellas Global Health Foundation. "Through these investments in equipping, training, and supporting health workers, the Astellas Global Health Foundation is proud to have helped in making a sustainable impact on the COVID-19 response and the health of people around the world."

Learn more about the AGHF by visiting the AGHF website or social channels (LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook).

Visit the CARE website to learn more about how CARE continues to play a central role in combating the COVID-19 pandemic, and other disaster preparedness and response.

References:

1 UN website. Accessed February 6, 2023. Link:https://sdgs.un.org/goals/goal5

2 CARE website. Accessed February 6, 2023. Link:https://www.care.org/news-and-stories/health/our-best-shot-women-frontline-health-workers-around-the-world-are-keeping-you-safe-from-covid-19/

3 CARE website. Accessed February 6, 2023. Link:https://careevaluations.org/wp-content/uploads/CARE-Flagship-Report_Women-at-the-Last-Mile-Final.pdf