On the Front Lines: Supporting Health Workers that Deliver Lifesaving Vaccines

One of the greatest successes in global health in the past 25 years has been the slashing of childhood mortality rates around the world driven by increased access to vaccines delivered by frontline health workers.Cheap, safe, and effective vaccines like the polio vaccine have saved millions of lives and brought us to the brink of eradicating a deadly disease.It can be easy to forget the crucial role frontline health workers play in delivering life-saving vaccines, especially in conflict zones, where attacks on health workers have become one of the largest barriers to polio eradication. Frontline health workers take great personal risk to make sure every last child is vaccinated, as well as travel to rural, underserved areas where health systems have not adequately reached.  In 2014, more people died from attacks on health workers than from polio itself. Each year, for example, over 2.5 million health workers fan out across India to make sure that each and every child is vaccinated against polio. These campaigns serve as an opening to deliver more than just polio vaccines—investments in India’s polio campaigns have strengthened its health system’s ability to deliver a variety of essential vaccines and health services.As a direct result, India has gone nearly four years without any new cases of polio and received certification from the World Health Organization as “polio-free.”Far too often, however, the frontline health workers are risking their own lives and safety to save lives in their communities by delivering vaccines.

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On the Front Lines: Supporting Health Workers that Deliver Lifesaving Vaccines