With the aim of raising awareness, this documentary by filmmaker Lisa Russell, MPH provides an intimate look into the lives of three women working on the frontlines of global health. It portrays the sacrifices and inspirations behind their work as life saving forces and advocates in their own communities. "These women are working tirelessly to improve global health with dedication and passion to champion better healthcare for all." It is part of a movement to highlight and celebrate the women who, although make up 75% of the global healthcare workforce, are often unrecognised for their work.
- Mercy Owuor is the first of the three women featured in the documentary. She lives in Lwala, Kenya and serves as the Community Programs Director at Lwala Community Alliance, a community-led programme that aims to reduce maternal and child deaths across a population of one million people. Her goal is for every child in the community to see his or her fifth birthday. In a 10-year period, Lwala Community Hospital has reached nearly 50,000 patient visits a year, community health workers like Mercy are treating 10,000 people, and an education programme is reaching 13 schools.
- Dr. Sharmila Anand works in Thirukalukundram, a village two hours away from the nearest city in the south of India. Anand was 23 years old and in the middle of pursuing her medical degree when her daughter was born. The expectation was that she would stay at home from work to care for her new baby. Initially, she conceded but the medical field still called to her. "My daughter was three years old and I was a student working five jobs,” says Anand. "She actually watched me graduate through webinar when she was four. When I got on the phone after, she told me: Mom, I want to be like you. That made it all OK."
- Rohani is a volunteer midwife's assistant from a mountain village in South Sulawesi, Indonesia. She wakes up at 4 a.m. daily to join her family in a morning prayer before walking expectant mothers to the nearest community health centre, more than an hour walk by foot.
The idea is to show that, despite the challenges they may face, women like these play a critical role in the effort to strengthen healthcare systems and improve the affordability and accessibility to quality healthcare, and that, when given the opportunity to lead in both community health and policy development, women have the ability to improve the health of millions of people.
Supporters for the project include the Women in Global Health and GE Healthcare teams, along with the United Nations Foundation, Global Health Council, Global Health Centre-Graduate Institute, Women Deliver, Government Offices of Sweden, IntraHealth International, Frontline Health Workers Coalition, and Research in Ethics Gender Studies (RinGS). Each day, GE Healthcare is posting a one-minute clip to Instagram that tells a new part of the story. Over the course of one month, the entire film will live on a dedicated Instagram account.
Email from Lisa Russell to The Communication Initiative on July 19 2017; and Women in Global Health website and "GE Healthcare Launches 'Heroines of Health' Documentary", by Bernie Monegain, July 24 2017 - both accessed on August 1 2017.