Home Fact Sheet World Health Day 2020: #SupportNursesAndMidwives #COVID19

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World Health Day 2020: #SupportNursesAndMidwives #COVID19

World Health Day is marked on April 7 of each year.  The celebration has aimed to create awareness of a specific health theme to highlight a priority area of concern for the World Health Organization.

7 April 2020 is the day to celebrate the work of nurses and midwives and remind world leaders of the critical role they play in keeping the world healthy. Nurses and other health workers are at the forefront of COVID-19 response – providing high quality, respectful treatment and care, leading community dialogue to address fears and questions and, in some instances,   collecting data for clinical studies.

WHO and partners call for urgent investment in nurses

WHO is calling for your support on World Health Day to ensure that the nursing and midwifery workforces are strong enough to ensure that everyone, everywhere gets the healthcare they need.

The tagline for World Health Day is: Support nurses and midwives.

Call to action

General public

  1. Show nurses and midwives your appreciation for their work and thank them for what they do to keep us healthy.
  2. Call on local leaders to do more to support nurses and midwives and make investments that enable them to work to their full potential.


  1. Invest in nursing and midwifery education and employment so universal health coverage becomes a reality everywhere.
  2. Strengthen and pay more attention to nursing and midwifery influence and leadership: health services will improve as a result.
  3. Take steps to improve gathering of workforce data in order to better target resources and make changes where they are needed most.

Health Workers

  1. Show your respect for nurses, midwives and other fellow health workers.
  2. Listen to their views and explore their ideas.
  3. Engage nurses and midwives in decision making.

Key facts

  • Globally, 70% of the health and social workforce are women.
  • Nurses and midwives play a key role in caring for people everywhere, including in times of outbreaks and settings that are fragile or in conflict.
  • Achieving health for all will depend on there being sufficient numbers of well-trained and educated, regulated and adequately supported nurses and midwives, who receive pay and recognition commensurate with the services and quality of care that they provide.
  • Nurses and midwives have a relationship with their patients that is based on trust; knowing the full picture of someone’s health helps improve care and saves money. They also know the cultures and practices of their communities, making them indispensable during an outbreak or emergency.
  • Investing more in midwives, who are critical for maternal and newborn health as well as for family planning, could avert over 80% of all the maternal deaths, stillbirths and neonatal deaths that occur today.
  • Many countries need to do more to ensure that nurses and midwives can work in an environment where they are safe from harm, respected by medical colleagues and community members, and where their work is integrated with other health-care professionals.
  • 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 outbreaks. It also underscores the critical (and often unmet need) for protective equipment so they can safely provide care and reduce the rate of infection in health settings.
Five key investment areas to boost nurses and midwives worldwide:
  1. Invest in more nurse-led and midwife-led services
  2. Employ more specialist nurses
  3. Make midwives and nurses the heart of primary health care, providing services and supervising community health workers
  4. Support nurses and midwives in delivering health promotion and disease prevention.
  5. Invest in the leadership skills of nurses and midwives.

UHC Key facts
  • At least half of the world’s population still do not have full coverage of essential health services.
  • About 100 million people are still being pushed into extreme poverty (defined as living on 1.90 USD or less a day) because they have to pay for health care.
  • Over 930 million people (around 12% of the world’s population) spend at least 10% of their household budgets to pay for health care.
  • All UN Member States have agreed to try to achieve universal health coverage (UHC) by 2030, as part of the Sustainable Development Goals.


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