World Health Day 2020 – celebrate the work of nurses and midwives

This World Health Day, we honor the contribution of nurses and midwives, recognizing their vital role in keeping the world healthy.

Nurses and other health workers are at the frontlines of COVID-19 response, putting their own health at risk to protect the broader community. 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. Quite simply, without nurses, there would be no response.

Comprising more than two-thirds of the health workforce in the WHO Western Pacific Region, nurses are critical in responding to health needs in all settings and across the lifespan. In the 2020 International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife, the World Health Day is an opportunity to highlight the work of nursing and midwifery around the world, while celebrating this workforce as one of the most valuable resources of every country.

World Health Day is also an opportunity to advocate for commitment and resources to strengthen the nursing and midwifery workforce, improve their education and working conditions, and enable them to work to their full potential.

Facts and Figures

  1. The global nursing workforce is around 28 million, of which more than 19 million are professional nurses.
  2. The Western Pacific Region has around 7 million nurses, who comprise a quarter of the global nursing workforce.
  3. 95% of the nurses in the Western Pacific Region are women.
  4. Half (51%) of nurses in the Western Pacific Region are below 35 years of age.
  5. One nurse out of three (33%) in the Region is born or trained in a country other than their current country of practice.
  6. In 2018, the shortage of nurses in the Region was estimated to be 350,000. 89% of this shortage is concentrated in low- and lower middle-income countries.
  7. The first confirmed record of the existence of nurses dates back to 300 AD in the Roman Empire.
  8. On average, nurses walk four to five miles in a regular 12-hour shift.
  9. Nursing students represent about half of all health field students in a higher education level.
  10. Being a profession with universally recognized practices means that a registered nurse can work anywhere in the world.

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