Nurses, midwives the backbone of every health system, says WHO.

Organisation calls for increased investments in nursing and midwifery workforce.

Nurses and midwives play a vital role in providing health services and are often, the first and only point of care in their communities. “The world needs 9 million more nurses and midwives if it is to achieve universal health coverage by 2030,” notes the World Health Organisation (WHO) in its latest report.


The World Health Assembly has designated 2020 the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife.

WHO and partners including the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM), International Council of Nurses (ICN), Nursing Now and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in a year-long effort to celebrate the work of nurses and midwives have highlighted the challenging conditions they often face, and advocate for increased investments in the nursing and midwifery workforce.

“Nurses and midwives are the backbone of every health system and in 2020 we are calling on all countries to invest in nurses and midwives as part of their commitment to health for all,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.

WHO has noted that educating nurses and midwives to international standards makes economic sense. It saves resources by reducing the need for costly and unnecessary interventions and increases quality of care and health for all.

“But too often nurses and midwives are undervalued and unable to fulfil their true potential. In 2020 we aim to ensure that all nurses and midwives operate in an environment where they are safe from harm, respected by medical colleagues and community members, have access to a functioning health-care service and where their work is integrated with other health-care professionals,” WHO has noted.

It says nurses and midwives can be the answer to so many of the world’s health problems but first we must overcome professional, socio-cultural and economic barriers. (Source: The Hindu)

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