Medical Emergency Relief International - Merlin, UK
Merlin specialises in health, saving lives in times of crisis and helping to rebuild shattered health services. We focus on making long-term improvement to health care in fragile states. Our expertise and experience ranges from emergency relief to strengthening health systems, to addressing global health threats and influencing policy.
Merlin works in countries affected by crises predominantly in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. We take an integrated, three-pronged approach to rebuilding health systems covering:
- Access to health services - we support Ministries of Health to ensure vulnerable populations have access to appropriate, effective and affordable health services, taking a health systems strengthening approach at community, primary and secondary level;
- Addressing disease - including common childhood preventable diseases, malaria, TB, HIV/AIDS and neglected diseases;
- Reproductive and child health - working to reduce illness and death among women, the newborn and children by strengthening maternal and child health services.
Links to the health workforce crisis
The main focus of Merlin’s work is to promote conditions for improved human resources and to strengthen existing health systems, both in the countries in which we work and more generally. We do this through our practical programming and influencing activities.
By far the main emphasis of Merlin’s work in HR4H is supporting staff remaining in the public health system. This support is designed to improve the ability and motivation of health staff to carry out their work more effectively within their current positions. The support includes incentive payments, tools of the trade, on-the job training and mentoring and supervision. Not only does this support strengthen the capacity of the individual to work more effectively, but it also strengthens the capacity of the health system in the country as a whole.
Merlin also recruits national staff where there are gaps in the national system. Working for Merlin, national staff gain valuable experience and may be encouraged to remain in country rather than seek opportunities elsewhere. Health workers are also recruited from an international pool of candidates to strengthen and develop existing systems.
Over the next few years, Merlin will continue to provide practical support to the development of effective human resources through our programmes and will use this experience to advocate for the policy changes needed at country and global levels, which support the increased availability of appropriately skilled and posted human resources.
To raise public awareness of the health worker crisis, Merlin launched our campaign “Hands Up for Health Workers” in 2008. We are working to use the opportunities created by the current level of interest and attention among international actors to advocate for effectively resourced national health workforce plans in fragile states. As part of this, the campaign will raise the profile of the human resource crisis in fragile states and its impact on the achievement of MDGs 4 and 5.
Health Workers in Conflict!
Join Merlin’s petition and show your support for health workers caught up in conflict . Merlin will be taking it right to the UN summit on Peace Day 21 September 2011 in New York. - it knows all too well the dangers health workers are facing but needs to act now.