Our Best Shot: Women Frontline Health Workers in Other Countries Are Keeping You Safe from COVID-19

Authored by: Christina Wegs, Dora Curry, Shefa Sikder et al.

Categories: Global Public Health, Human Rights, Humanitarian Emergencies
Sub-Categories: COVID-19, Economic Participation, Economic Recovery, Human Development
Region: No Region
Year: 2021
Citation: Wegs, Christina et al. "Our Best Shot: Women Frontline Health Workers in Other Countries Are Keeping You Safe from COVID-19. CARE International. March 2021.

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Executive Summary

Fully realizing the social and economic benefits of halting COVID-19 requires investing in a fast and fair global rollout of COVID-19 vaccines. CARE estimates that for every $1 a country or donor government invests in vaccine doses, they need to invest $5.00 in delivering the vaccine.

Investments in frontline health workers are a critical component in this comprehensive vaccination cost.
Of the $5.00 in delivery costs, $2.50 has to go to funding, training, equipping, and supporting health workers—especially women—who administer vaccines, run education campaigns, connect communities to health services, and build the trust required for patients to get vaccines. For these investments to work, they must pay, protect and respect women frontline health workers and their rights—a cost that is largely absent from recent WHO estimates on vaccine rollout costs. No current global conversations or guidance on vaccine costs includes the full cost of community health workers or long-term personnel costs.

Investing in a fast and fair global vaccine distribution will save twice as many lives as maximizing vaccine doses for the wealthiest countries in the world. i Even better, investing in vaccine equality will speed up economic recoveries in every country in the world. For every $1 invested in vaccines in less wealthy countries, wealthy countries will see $4.80 of economic benefit because economies can fully re-open sooner. ii Failing to make this investment could cost wealthy economies $4.5 trillion in economic losses.

Respecting human rights, equality and leadership for women health workers is the key ingredient to keeping everyone safe from COVID-19. Women health workers have incredible insights about what is working, what patients are experiencing, and where there are gaps in the system that leaders need to quickly pivot to fill. Currently, they have few ways to share these insights in ways that improve the system.