3 inspiring stories. 3 different countries. 1 challenge in common – Heroines of Health
This article is brought to you by GE Healthcare
Fact: Women contribute nearly $3 trillion to the healthcare industry, but nearly half of it is unpaid and unrecognized.
Fact: Research has shown that women and girls are disproportionately affected by disease, and that when women are in leadership roles, they will make decisions that are more supportive of women and children and lead to improved women’s health outcomes.
Women make up 75% of the global healthcare workforce, yet only 38% hold the top jobs, and their stories go untold—stories that may hold the key to unlocking better health for more people around the world.
In Chennai, Dr. Sharmila Anand was 23 years old and in the middle of pursuing her medical degree when she became a mother. She then earned her MBA in the US, while her daughter remained in India. Today, she cites this challenge as a big inspiration for the social enterprise she runs, which skills young women to be X-ray technicians.
“Society expects us to stay at home and take care of children,” says Mercy Owuor, a community leader in Lwala, Kenya. Every week, she sets out, leaving behind her family to travel for two hours to reach the local community she serves, combatting some of the toughest healthcare issues for mothers and children.
Finally, in South Sulawesi, Indonesia, Rohani DgTe’ne works a makeshift palanquin-like ambulance to ensure pregnant women in her village receive care at the community health centre. Whether in the market or in the mountains nearby, whenever she comes across a mother or a pregnant woman, she stops to ask them about their care and takes them, if needed, to the clinic.
The three women come from different backgrounds. They speak different languages. And still their journeys are remarkably similar: women who have overcome steep challenges and expectations, and charted their own path to bring better health to their communities.
3 stories—untold. Until now.
Watch and be inspired- Heroines of Health, a documentary by an Emmy-award winning filmmaker, Lisa Russell, MP
GE Healthcare seeks to increase the numbers of women in leadership in the field of global health. At the 70th World Health Assembly, GE Healthcare and Women in Global Health highlighted the valuable work and achievements of 13 such ‘Heroines of Health’ across the world and across different aspects healthcare. At the first Heroines of Health Awards, 13 women from around the world (including Rohani, Sharmila and Mercy) were being honoured for their achievements and dedication to improving global health.
“These women are working tirelessly to improve global health with dedication and passion to champion better healthcare for all. To change the face of global health for the future, we are committed to help recognize, develop and grow women’s leadership – and to start by sharing the stories of women leading the charge,” said Terri Bresenham, President and CEO of Sustainable Healthcare Solutions, GE Healthcare.
"Investing in girls and women results in greater societal return. It is acknowledged that women are underpaid and under-recognized in many workforces. In the global health field, it becomes more pervasive as women are at the front lines, taking on the toughest health challenges to ensure there are healthier communities, yet they are not represented in decision-making positions,” said Roopa Dhatt, Director and Co-founder of Women in Global Health.
GE’s larger ambition is to work on things that matter - great people and technologies taking on the toughest challenges. Empowering women through GE Healthcare is a big part of that.