I recently returned from the field and am feeling predictably refreshed. Meeting the women and families whose needs we aim to serve in our daily work reminds me why we do the work we do. Amid the sometimes intractable problems in global health, I see that we’re transforming lives one person, one community, one nation at a time.
As I traveled, my mind kept returning to one phrase: “the last mile.” A familiar term now in the worlds of development and health, it refers to reaching those most in need – often the poorest and those marginalized by gender, socio-economic status or disability – with high-quality services.
Today, the danger of dying before age five depends almost entirely on where you are born, and in sub-Saharan Africa, the chances that a woman will die during her lifetime in pregnancy or childbirth is 1 in 36 – compared to 1 in 4,900 in high-income countries.
But we can close these gaps. MCSP is working in 26 countries to address inequities in health systems and develop and strengthen community health work cadres to bring key services to “reach the unreachable.”
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Koki Agarwal, MD, MPH, DrPH