Happy World Health Day to all! As 2020 is the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife, today, Tuesday, April 7th, shines a light on the current status of nursing and midwifery around the world. Globally, 70% of the health and social workforce are women, with nurses and midwives representing a large portion.

Nurses and midwives devote their lives to caring for mothers and children, give lifesaving immunisations and health advice, look after older people, generally meet everyday essential health needs – and make critical contributions in the provision of family planning and SRHR services.

COVID-19 highlights how important it is for all nurses to have access to the most up-to-date knowledge and guidance required to respond to such an outbreak. In this uncertain time, nurses and other health workers are on the front lines, putting themselves at risk to provide high-quality treatment and care, address fears and questions, and, in some cases, collect data for the critical clinical studies that will help bring this pandemic to its end.

Head antenatal nurse Margie Harriet Egessa provides antenatal counseling and checkups for a group of pregnant women at Mukujju clinic in Tororo, Uganda. Photo by Jonathan Torgovnik/Reportage by Getty Images.

Achieving health for all depends on the number of well-trained, regulated and supported nurses and midwives. According to the State of African Women Report, nurses and midwives must be well-educated since a lack of knowledge and skills about adolescent sexual and reproductive health among health workers hinders adolescents’ access to services.

Governments must invest in these health workers, who are critical for maternal and newborn health as well as family planning. Doing so could avert over 80% of all maternal deaths, stillbirths and neonatal deaths. Today, we join the WHO in calling for your support to ensure that nurses and midwives are strong enough, and given enough assistance, to ensure that everyone, all over the world, gets the healthcare they need.

This World Health Day, the WHO is launching the first-ever State of the World’s Nursing Report, providing a global picture of the nursing workforce and setting the agenda for data collection, policy dialogue, research and advocacy, and investment in the health workforce for generations to come. You can read it here on the WHO website.

 

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