How to improve primary health care to prepare for future pandemics

1. Hire, train and prioritize health workers

It goes without saying that health workers form a critical part of any strong health care system. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, frontline workers, including community health workers, have selflessly risen to the occasion. Whether caring for the sick, ensuring that vaccines reach the most vulnerable, testing and reporting cases, or keeping routine health care services running, their efforts have been immense.

Jennifer, a pharmacist at the Greater Accra Regional Hospital in Ghana, symbolizes the efforts of many other health workers. “I live with my husband, my three children and my mother, who is 80 years old. When I started working in the COVID-19 intensive care unit I was still breastfeeding my baby,” she recalls. “I was terrified of getting the virus and putting my family in danger. With a lot of pain, I had to ask my children not to hug me.”

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