Oying Rimon: Empowering front-line health workers is smart investment

How valuable is the care provided by a trained front-line health care worker? Every three seconds, a child’s life is saved, Oying Rimon of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation reminds us in a blog post.

And it takes as little as $300 to provide basic training to front-line health workers, says Rimon, who is a senior program officer in family health at the Gates Foundation and a former manager of a national family planning program in the Philippines.

“Around the world, front-line health workers are often the first link to lifesaving care and supplies, and in some cases they are the only link for families and communities in rural and impoverished areas,” he writes for the “Impatient Optimists” blog. “This is also where most of the world’s unmet need for family planning resides.”

Currently, more than 200 million women in developing countries have limited access to contraceptive methods, and by 2020 this number will increase by an estimated 120 million.

Rimon says in order to meet the demands for family planning services, front-line health workers not only need to be sufficiently trained but also integrated into the broader health system and have regular access to cost-effective family planning supplies.

Rimon’s organization is co-organizing an international conference on family planning July 11 in London. The aim is to galvanize support for access to contraceptives and eliminate barriers to family planning.

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About the author

  • Eliza Villarino

    Eliza Villarino currently manages one of today’s leading publications on humanitarian aid, global health and international development, the weekly GDB. At Devex, she has helped grow a global newsroom, with talented journalists from major development hubs such as Washington, D.C, London and Brussels. She regularly writes about innovations in global development.