Home Maternal, Newborn and Child Health 2020: International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife

2020: International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife

by Public Health Update

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2020: International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife

The World Health Assembly, The World Health Organization (WHO) has designated 2020 as the “Year of the Nurse and Midwife”, in honour of the 200th  birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale. The year 2020 is significant for WHO in the context of nursing and midwifery strengthening for Universal Health Coverage. WHO is leading the development of the first-ever State of the World’s Nursing report which will be launched in 2020, prior to the 73rd World Health Assembly.

Year of the Nurse and the Midwife is a unique opportunity to get involved and demonstrate broad public and political support for more health workers, better supported to address the 18 million health worker shortage. 

You can join 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, highlight the challenging conditions they often face, and advocate for increased investments in the nursing and midwifery workforce.

Fast Facts

  • Nurses and midwives provide a broad range of essential services close to the community and in all levels of health facility.
  • Nurses and midwives provide essential health services, including e.g: Prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of HIV, tuberculosis, malaria and other communicable diseases Prevention, diagnosis and treatment of noncommunicable diseases Sexual and reproductive health services, including family planning, and maternal and newborn health care, including immunization and breastfeeding support.
  • Nurses and midwives play a key role in caring for people everywhere, including in the most difficult humanitarian, fragile and conflict-affected settings.
  • As part of strong multidisciplinary healthcare teams, nurses and midwives make a significant contribution to delivering on the commitments made in the 2018 Astana Declaration on Primary Health Care, ensuring patient-centred care close to the community.
  • Achieving health for all will depend on there being sufficient numbers of well-trained and educated, regulated and well supported nurses and midwives, who receive pay and recognition commensurate with the services and quality of care that they provide.
  • The world needs 18 million more health workers to achieve and sustain universal health coverage by 2030. Approximately half of that shortfall – 9 million health workers – are nurses and midwives. The most acute shortages of nurses and midwives are in South East Asia and Africa.
  • Globally, 70% of the health and social workforce are women. Nurses and midwives represent a large portion of this.
  • Midwifery, where care includes proven interventions for maternal and newborn health as well as for family planning could avert over 80% of all maternal deaths, stillbirths and neonatal deaths. Midwife-led continuity of care, where a known midwife or group of midwives provides care from pregnancy to the end of the postnatal period, can prevent 24% of pre-term births.

Ideas for campaign activities

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