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Press Release

On International Nurses Day, Reps. Bera and Kiggans Introduce Bipartisan Resolution Honoring the Essential Role and Contributions of Frontline Health Care Workers

On International Nurses Day, Representatives Ami Bera, M.D. (D-CA), a physician by training, and Jen Kiggans (R-VA), a geriatric nurse practitioner, introduced a bipartisan resolution honoring frontline health care workers and the important role they play in strengthening health systems and saving the lives of millions of people around the world.

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, frontline health care workers have demonstrated unwavering courage and dedication in keeping our communities safe and healthy,” said Rep. Ami Bera, M.D. who previously served as Chief Medical Officer for Sacramento County. “This bipartisan resolution recognizes the essential role of our frontline doctors, nurses, and health care professionals who provide critical life-saving services in difficult working conditions, and highlights the need to invest in their well-being. We must prioritize a strong frontline health workforce as the foundation for resilient and sustainable health systems to combat current and future pandemics.”

“As a geriatric nurse practitioner, I had the honor working on the frontlines of healthcare with strong and dedicated men and women who helped navigate patients through an unprecedented global pandemic,” said Rep. Jen Kiggans, Vice-Chair of the Congressional Nursing Caucus. “Though the COVID-19 pandemic is finally in the rearview mirror, our healthcare professionals still face a wide variety of challenges, from staffing shortages to widespread burnout. It’s my honor to formally recognize them in Congress; I will continue to be a voice and an advocate for our profession!”

Specifically, the Bera-Kiggans resolution:

  • Reaffirms the central role of local frontline health workforces in achieving the objectives of global health programs;
  • Urges greater global attention and support for local frontline health workers to ensure their protection and ability to respond effectively during humanitarian and public health crises;
  • Recognizes the damaging effects of gender and economic disparities in the health workforce, given that most frontline health workers are women, and that most are unpaid or underpaid; and
  • Encourages all relevant Federal agencies to facilitate collaborative learning between domestic and global frontline health workforce strengthening programs to improve effectiveness and health outcomes.

“Frontline health workers are the ones that take care of us when we’re sick, when we need a shot, when our children need help; they are the lynchpin of health systems. But too often their work is unrecognized and underappreciated. CARE knows this reality is especially harmful for women, who are 70 percent of the health workforce, yet are frequently unpaid or underpaid for their work,” said Michelle Nunn, President and CEO of CARE USA. “Thousands of health workers lost their lives and countless left their profession over the last few years. This important Congressional resolution moves us towards recognizing the indispensable contributions and tireless sacrifices of this workforce. When frontline health workers—including community health workers—are fairly paid, trained, protected, and supported, health systems work better and can withstand shocks like pandemics. Most importantly, everyone’s health improves”

“IntraHealth International commends the bipartisan introduction of House Resolution 389 by Representatives Ami Bera, a medical doctor, and Jen Kiggans, a nurse practitioner. They know firsthand how critical frontline health workers are for ensuring resilient health systems, achieving universal health coverage, and responding to global health security threats like Covid-19. We urge all representatives to sign on to this resolution recognizing health workers' essential role. Members of the Frontline Health Workers Coalition and other advocates can build on this key call to action to urge additional US investment for health workers around the world,” said Maqsoda Maqsodi, President and CEO (interim), IntraHealth International.

The resolution is endorsed by Action Against Hunger, American Heart Association, Amref Health Africa, AVAC, CARE USA, Children’s AIDS Fund International, CORE Group, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, Friends of the Global Fight, Frontline Health Workers Coalition, G4 Alliance, GAIA Global Health, Global Health Council, Housing Works, Inc., ICAP at Columbia University, Integrate Health, IntraHealth International, Jhpiego, Johnson & Johnson, Management Sciences for Health, Muso, ONE, Operation Smile, PAI, PATH, Pathfinder, Project HOPE, Research!America, RESULTS, RTI International, Sabin Vaccine Institute, Seed Global Health, Smile Train, The Hunger Project, THINKMD, Training for Health Equity Network: THEnet, UNICEF USA, United to Beat Malaria, VillageReach, WaterAid America, Women Deliver, World Bicycle Relief, World Vision US.

You can view the full text of the resolution here.