WHO urges support for nurses, midwives on World Health Day

Tasnim – By highlighting the theme of this year’s World Health Day as “Support nurses and midwives”, the WHO restated the critical role that nurses and midwives play in keeping the world healthy.

“Nurses account for more than half of all the world’s health workers, providing vital services throughout the health system. Historically, as well as today, nurses are at the forefront of fighting epidemics and pandemics that threaten health across the globe. Around the world they are demonstrating their compassion, bravery, and courage as they respond to the COVID-19 pandemic: never before has their value been more clearly demonstrated” WHO stated on World Health Day 2020.

 

The COVID-19 pandemic underscores the urgent need to strengthen the global health workforce. A new report, The State of the World’s Nursing 2020, provides an in-depth look at the largest component of the health workforce. Findings identify important gaps in the nursing workforce and priority areas for investment in nursing education, jobs, and leadership to strengthen nursing around the world and improve health for all.

“Nurses are the backbone of any health system. Today, many nurses find themselves on the front-line in the battle against COVID-19,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “This report is a stark reminder of the unique role they play and a wakeup call to ensure they get the support they need to keep the world healthy.”

“The current situation makes the theme of the World Health Day and the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife even more relevant and meaningful as we acknowledge and pay tribute to all health workers. We need to ensure that all nurses and midwives operate in an environment where they are safe from harm, including those providing services in countries in an emergency. And we need to ensure that they have access to a functioning health care service,” said Dr. Ahmed Al-Mandhari, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean.

“Your work with patients and communities in hospitals, in- and out-patient clinics, and health centers are the very foundation not only of the health system but of the social compact of the whole society, particularly at these times of physical distancing and isolation. We salute also all Behvarz and Moragheb-e-Salamat (health workers at PHCs) who play such an important role as part of the community health workforce. We have the highest esteem and respect for your daily effort to overcome fear and anxiety among the community and the patients, and at the same time to deal with your own challenges and concerns for your families. We are here to support you, nurses and midwives and fellow health workers” said Dr. Christoph Hamelmann, the WHO Representative in the Islamic Republic of Iran in a joint video message with the Ministry of Health and Medical Education (MoHME).

“Now during the emergency of the COVID-19 epidemic, you are the pillars of care for pregnant women, lactating mothers, for the newborn and children, for adolescents, the working population, and the elderly, not only with regard to the coronavirus and the special precautions in care that need to be considered but at the same time for all the other urgent health care needs of the population”.

“This World Health Day, we cannot celebrate together physically, but in our hearts and minds we are celebrating together – we are celebrating you, dear nurses, midwives and fellow health workers” he added.

The report, The State of the World’s Nursing 2020, by the World Health Organization (WHO) in partnership with the International Council of Nurses (ICN) and Nursing Now, reveals that today, there are just under 28 million nurses worldwide. Between 2013 and 2018, nursing numbers increased by 4.7 million. But this still leaves a global shortfall of 5.9 million – with the greatest gaps found in countries in Africa, South East Asia, and the WHO Eastern Mediterranean region as well as some parts of Latin America.

Revealingly, more than 80 percent of the world’s nurses work in countries that are home to half of the world’s population. And one in every eight nurses practices in a country other than the one where they were born or trained. Aging also threatens the nursing workforce: one out of six of the world’s nurses are expected to retire in the next 10 years.