Towards a Human-Centric Model of Training in Healthcare: Leveraging the Humanities to Strengthen Character Virtues and Increase Compassionate Care among Lady Health Workers in Karachi, Pakistan​

  • TWCF Number:

    0517

  • Project Duration:

    1 July 2020 - 28 February 2022

  • Core Funding Area:

    Character Virtue Development

  • Initiative:

    Global Innovations for Character Development

  • Region:

    Asia

  • Amount Awarded:

    $233,859

Subhash Chandir

IRD Pakistan (PVT.) Limited

Character strengths have the power to transform the lives of health workers and patients alike. Directed by Subhash Chandir, this GICD project seeks to embed compassion, purpose, joy, and other strengths into one of the most critical levels of healthcare delivery in Pakistan.

For most Pakistanis, Lady Health Workers (LHW) are the first—and only point of contact—with the health system. Appointed by the Government of Pakistan, these female frontline healthcare workers address the country’s high maternal and child morbidity and mortality. They provide reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health services at the household level throughout Pakistan. Their life-saving care reaches remote and rural areas that otherwise have minimal access to care.

Despite the centrality of their role, LHWs receive inadequate training and support. Their grueling work leads to fatigue and stress, resulting in low job satisfaction. Prior studies have pointed to a need for increased training and support, as well as investment in soft skills. This project aims to strengthen and sustain character virtues that can enhance LHWs’ sense of joy, purpose, and self-worth, while also giving them the skills they need to deliver compassionate care across diverse communities.

The study’s primary output, an interdisciplinary humanities curriculum, will draw on local Pakistani literature. Arts-based activities, facilitated group discussions, and storytelling are among the interactive activities included in the curriculum. Studies have established a link between studying humanities and character strengths, but so far limited research has taken place.

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