Addressing the Global Shortage of Health Workers

We know from our experience in the field that a lack of access to basic health services often means the difference between life and death for women and children living in poverty. One of the biggest barriers: a lack of skilled health workers.

According to the WHO, the world will be short 12.9 million healthcare workers by 2035; today, it’s estimated that only half of all countries have the health workers required to deliver quality healthcare. Many of the countries where we work suffer the most from this shortage. There are several factors that contribute to the shortage of health workers, including a lack of investment in education and training, international migration, and career changes among health workers. brynn health worker

In an effort to address this critical shortage, CMMB’s volunteer team recruits, prepares, and places qualified volunteers to support local healthcare facilities and workers in some of the most remote places in the world. The goal? To strengthen local health systems by building the capacity of primary care clinicians and nurses. But we don’t just send anyone. We work closely with our teams on the ground, assessing the needs of health facilities and communities, to identify the types of skilled professionals needed to fill gaps and achieve improved health outcomes.

Recruitment is challenging, especially for non-clinical positions like hospital administrators or logistics personnel. We rely on our valued partners, referrals, advertising, conferences and career fairs, etc. We have been fortunate to find and place hundreds of highly-skilled volunteers, but the need is great.

health worker in lab in haiti

And sometimes magic happens.

When people share CMMB’s stories, when volunteers talk about their experience, when we are invited to speak at conferences or attend career fairs, and as more people learn about CMMB, amazingly dedicated people like Sarah and Martin Rubino find us. Sarah is a nurse and midwife and her husband Martin is an engineer. They are currently serving at St. Therese Hospital in South Sudan.

Here’s their story:

“It is quite a challenge to find an organization that has opportunities for a clinical and non-clinical couple to work. We both wanted to serve in a developing country, but found it difficult to locate an organization that could fully utilize our individual skills. When we found CMMB, it was a perfect fit. For a midwife, the organization stood out because of its focus on women and children and with CMMB’s commitment to strengthening health systems, including through building projects, my husband Martin, an engineer, was a perfect candidate. When we contacted CMMB, we learned that a major hospital expansion was underway in a place that was desperately looking for a nurse midwife to support its maternal and child health programs! Magic! Because CMMB has many projects that go beyond the realm of “just medical work,” we were both able to volunteer in a place that uses our full potential.” – Sarah Rubino

rubinos and a quote from mother teresa

One of CMMB’s main goals is to strengthen health systems in a sustainable way. This includes building capacity of local healthcare professionals, renovating existing health facilities and constructing new ones, and providing essential medicines and medical supplies to ensure people have access to quality healthcare services. This requires people with all kinds of skill sets and professional backgrounds including:

  • Clinical professionals
  • Public health professionals
  • Health administrators
  • M&E, data, and research specialists
  • Finance and business development professionals
  • Marketing and communications specialists

Learn more about our international volunteer opportunities.