I work for the NHS. I’m not a doctor or a nurse. I work in ‘Service Improvement’ which means I work in lots of different areas trying to find ways that we can do better. It means I get to see the best and the worst of our system and I’m well aware of the waiting, the lack of money, equipment and space, the staff who aren’t always as caring as they should be. I can understand why people moan about the NHS, it’s far from perfect, but just imagine what it would mean for you and your family if it didn’t exist.
I’m lucky to have two very healthy kids and yet in the three years since I became a mum we’ve seen so manyhealth workers. There have been Midwife and Health Visitor house calls when we first brought the boys home, hearing screenings, development checks, vaccinations and the odd trip to the GP. On top of that there was all the pre-natal scans and checks and of course the births themselves. E ended up being delivered by emergency C-section so without those surgeons and anaesthetists we really would have been in trouble.
I haven’t always been terribly appreciative of these services but one conversation brought home to me how lucky we have been. I was talking to a nurse I work with just after my return from maternity leave, filling her in on the gory details of my section and how it had all been a bit of a disaster. She was very sympathetic. She then went on to tell me that while I’d been off she had been doing some charity work collecting medical equipment and supplies that for one reason or another we could no longer use here and sending them to Africa. Through this work she had befriended a pregnant Ethiopian woman and had been over to visit her when she had gone into labour. She was a healthy young woman and her labour went fairly quickly so my friend was very happy to be one of the first people to meet the baby. She then went in to see the mother and could tell immediately that something wasn’t right. She seemed disoriented and was pale and weak. It quickly became clear that she was hemorrhaging but with no blood products or fluid to replace what she was losing and no surgeon to fix the problem there was nothing that could be done and she died soon afterward. My friend was left stunned that a complication that would have been swiftly dealt with here was a death sentence in Ethiopia. Needless to say, I don’t moan about my section any more.
8 Million children die every year and 50% of them are in Africa and yet Africa has only 3% of the worlds doctors, nurses and midwives. This terrible shortage of health workers mean people can’t access even simple care that we would take for granted. Without them there’s no one to give vaccinations or prescribe antibiotics or care for a woman during childbirth. Save the Children’s ‘No Child Born To Die’ campaign is aiming to save the lives of millions of children by improving access to health workers in some of the poorest countries. There are some quick and easy things you can do to help.
On Tuesday, fellow blogger Chris Mosler (@ChristineMosler) and Liz Scarff of Save the Children will be at the UN General Assembly in New York to present David Cameron with a petition asking him to play his full part in solving the health worker crisis. There is a target of 60,000 signatures on the petition by Tuesday. So if you have a minute could you please:
- Click here to sign the petition.
- If you’re a blogger take part in Mummy from the Heart‘s challenge to sign up 100 bloggers to write 100 words about the campaign. (OK, I know I’ve gone a bit over the word count, but this is important!).
- Ask other bloggers/vloggers to do the same.
- Do whatever you can to spread the word, tweet about the campaign, mention it on Facebook, email your friends.