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Health Worker Protest Project

Date: May 2020
Author(s): Accountability Research Center
Publication type: Pilot Initiative
Published by: Accountability Research Center

This pilot learning project seeks to understand more about the relationship between health rights and the rights of health workers, as they risk their own lives to protect the lives of others. The recent COVID-19 pandemic has put unprecedented strain on health care systems around the world. Frontline health workers are still at great risk, from lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) to discrimination or harassment. Some face repercussions for whistleblowing or walkouts. The current situation has given rise to a new wave of innovative protests and proposals from health workers on the frontline.

The Health Worker Protest Project is an open-source initiative to share and store reports of health worker protests around the world— coronavirus-related and beyond— to raise awareness of accountability challenges. Launched by the Accountability Research Center (ARC), an action-research incubator, this pilot project attempts to learn from patterns that may emerge when we see the international diversity of health worker protests and proposals. The proposition here is that recognition of health worker voices and actions will shed light on a wide range of accountability failures in public health and governance systems, as well as on their proposals for how to improve public health systems.

This pilot project builds on the ARC mission by:

  • Recognizing the work of health worker advocates and demonstrating solidarity with them.
  • Sharing diverse and creative approaches to accountability challenges.
  • Enabling health rights advocates and allies to gain insights or inspiration from the protests and proposals around the world.

We propose a method for bringing together these diverse reports that is simple and easy. We invite you to send reports you come across as you follow the virus crisis in the local, national or international media, or on social media. Specifically, please share with us via email or twitter any reports you find of health worker protests and proposals worldwide, from sources that you consider credible – either with the original headline or your own. Relevant reports include media coverage of various forms of public collective action, as well as statements from health worker organizations or whistleblowers. Please share reports in multiple languages, possibly accompanied by a headline in English. With just one more click, please help to bring these issues to global attention.

How to share reports with us:

Please share this call with colleagues – and send any feedback or questions to HealthWorkerProtest(at)gmail(dot)com.

For more on ARC’s health-related publications and learning exchanges, see resources tab.