Training Health Care Workers
Project HOPE has trained more than 1 million health care workers worldwide since our founding. Learn more about how we empower health care workers to build healthier, resilient communities and a more equitable world.
Addressing the Health Worker Crisis
Skilled health workers are the backbone of strong health systems.
Our ability to improve access to care and achieve universal health coverage depends on the availability and quality of the health workforce. Yet it’s estimated only half of all countries around the world have the number of doctors, nurses, and community health workers needed to deliver quality health services.
As the world’s population rises, a growing shortage of health professionals threatens to undermine gains in global health.
Training health care workers has always been at the heart of our mission at Project HOPE. Every day, we train local health care workers to save lives across the globe — from the front lines of disaster and crisis to delivery rooms and remote villages.
A Growing Shortage
The world urgently needs more health care workers.
Around half of all countries have fewer than 10 doctors and 30 nurses or midwives serving 10,000 people.
The health worker crisis has been at the center of global health discussions for decades. Ongoing shortages — many in the most desperate situations — leave millions of people without the medical attention they need to survive, whether struggling in the face of sudden disaster or disease, or from entirely preventable and treatable circumstances.
The shortage is predicted to get even worse in the coming years.
It’s estimated that the rising incidence of noncommunicable diseases and growing aging population will create a demand for 40 million additional health workers by 2030 — requiring that we double our current global health workforce.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the already severe shortage. A worldwide lack of personal protective equipment like gloves and masks endangered the lives of health care workers around the world last year. As of September 2020, 570,000 health workers had been infected with the virus, and over 2,500 had lost their lives. The pandemic’s toll on mental health will impact thousands more.
Without sufficient and timely action, the World Health Organization predicts a shortfall of 18 million workers by 2030, primarily in low- and lower-middle income countries where the need is greatest.
All countries experience the shortage to some degree, but Africa, Asia, and Oceania are estimated to have the greatest shortfalls. The unequal and inequitable distribution of health workers is most apparent in Africa. The region carries 24% of the global disease burden, but has only 3% of the world’s health workforce.
How Project HOPE Equips Health Care Workers
We believe health care workers are the key to solving today’s most pressing health challenges.
For more than 60 years, Project HOPE has worked to train local health workers to work to their full potential and save lives around the world. We’re building a strong and resilient global network of health care workers who practice innovative solutions in their communities — and then pass them on to others.
We don’t believe in one-size-fits-all solutions. We work within existing health systems to ensure all local health care workers have the knowledge and skills they need to meet the needs of their own communities. Whether it’s responding to disasters and health crises, combatting infectious or noncommunicable diseases, or protecting maternal, neonatal, and child health, we empower health workers to fight the health battles where they work.
Protecting Mothers and Children
There is a direct link between the number of health care workers and the survival of women during childbirth and children in the early years. As the number of health care workers declines, so do the chances of survival for women and infants.
We train and mentor nurses and midwives with the skills and techniques they need to provide routine essential and emergency care for mothers and their newborns. In countries including Dominican Republic, Malawi, Indonesia, and Sierra Leone, our work has helped reduce maternal and neonatal mortality and increase access to care for the most vulnerable women and children.
Fighting Infectious and Chronic Disease
Building the capacity of health care workers at both national and community levels is the most critical element in strengthening countries’ abilities to tackle infectious diseases like HIV and TB.
In high burden countries, we train health care workers to provide screening, treatment, care, and support, leveraging evidence-based education models and harnessing the power of innovative online learning tools. We are also increasing the capacity of health professionals to address the rapidly growing risks of noncommunicable diseases.
Responding to Disasters and Health Crises
When disaster strikes in places like Lebanon and Honduras, we show up in the hardest-hit areas and stay for the long term to train health care workers and address mental health needs, knowing the health workforce plays a vital role in building resilience. In the midst of outbreaks and global health crises, we train frontline personnel to be able to act quickly and provide quality care.
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Project HOPE has trained nearly 100,000 health care workers and frontline personnel around the world. At the onset of the crisis, in partnership with the Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Studies at the Watson Institute of Brown University, we developed a COVID-19 preparedness and response curriculum to support the rapid scale-up of response efforts in high-risk countries. The curriculum is delivered through a live, virtual platform and designed utilizing a training-of-trainers approach. It is frequently updated based on best practices and evidence on the virus, in line with recommendations from the World Health Organization.
To increase access to the curriculum, we partnered with DisasterReady to convert the content into a free eLearning curriculum that includes all the same modules and information for people to view on their own devices. And with support from the Abbott Fund and in partnership with New York City Health + Hospitals, we piloted a mental health and resiliency training for health care workers responding to COVID-19 in the Dominican Republic and Indonesia. We are committed to expanding these trainings as we continue the fight against COVID-19 and prepare for future outbreaks.
Impact That Lasts
Since our founding, we have placed power in the hands of over 1 million health care workers.
Every day, we support midwives in Indonesia, maternal wards in North Macedonia, first responders treating COVID-19, and thousands of other expert and aspiring health professionals around the world.
In 2020, we trained more than 116,000 health care workers with the skills needed to treat their communities, respond in times of emergency, and save lives across the globe.
We trained 3,400 health care workers in essential maternal and neonatal interventions. From North Macedonia and Sierra Leone to the Dominican Republic and beyond, our work has helped save the lives of thousands of women and babies, and give them hope for healthier futures.
We trained 73,000 health care workers to better prevent and respond to emergencies or health crises. This includes doctors on the Venezuela border, emergency responders in Indonesia, and nursing students in Wuhan. We also trained nearly 1,000 health care workers to help end HIV and TB in high-risk countries like Namibia, Nigeria, and Malawi.
In response to COVID-19, we have trained nearly 100,000 health care workers and frontline personnel through the Brown University/Project HOPE training. We have reached an additional 3,800 people from 157 countries and territories with the eLearning curriculum, and trained 199 Master Trainers in the Dominican Republic and Indonesia as part of the mental health and resiliency training program.
How you can helpMake a lifesaving gift to support our work now and for the future at projecthope.org/donate
Are you a health-care or other professional who would like to learn more about volunteering abroad with Project HOPE? Learn more about our volunteer program and join our volunteer roster.
Stay up-to-date on this story and our lifesaving work around the world by following us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter, and help spread the word by sharing stories that move and inspire you.