EJS Center board member Dr. Raj Panjabi: “Millions unemployed in the coronavirus pandemic could be retrained to fight it”

Dr. Raj Panjabi is an EJS Center board member, CEO of Last Mile Health, and an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School. In a recent Fortune op-ed, penned with Harvard Business School professor Mitchell Weiss, he discusses the possibility of giving workers who have lost their jobs due to coronavirus new employment opportunities as community health workers to help fight the pandemic.

“In many countries…community health workers—local residents without professional medical degrees, hired and trained to support patients—have been a first and last line of defense for epidemics. As a community health worker, a neighbor could help stem the tide of the pandemic by offering prevention tactics, aiding in the detection of new cases, and supporting patients in accessing the care they need.”

Having worked closely alongside Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on Liberia’s response to the Ebola epidemic, he cites the country as an example of the successful deployment of community health workers:

“Community health workers were…an essential part of the Ebola response in Liberia, where they teamed up with doctors and nurses to find the sick and get them into care.”

While the article is focused primarily on the United States, the insights Panjabi shares could be applied in countries around the world that are facing the dual challenges of combatting coronavirus and bolstering their economies in the face of rising unemployment.

Read the full article here.

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