By Aisha Tamba
World Health Organisation (WHO) has urged world leaders to strengthen the workforce of nurses and midwives as they stand at the forefront of COVID-19 response.
The tagline for World Health Day is: Support nurses and midwives.
April 7, 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. This will be vital if we are to achieve national and global targets related to universal health coverage, maternal and child health, infectious and non-communicable diseases including mental health, emergency preparedness and response, patient safety and the delivery of integrated, people-centered care, amongst others. – providing high quality, respectful treatment and care, leading community dialogue to address fears and questions and, in some instances. We are 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. ”
Nurses and other health workers 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.
In this International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife, World Health Day will highlight the current status of nursing around the world. WHO and its partners will make a series of recommendations to strengthen of the nursing and midwifery workforce.
This will be vital if we are to achieve national and global targets related to universal health coverage, maternal and child health, infectious and non-communicable diseases including mental health, emergency preparedness and response, patient safety and the delivery of integrated, people-centered care, amongst others.
Policy-makers are also urged to invest in nursing and midwifery education and employment so universal health coverage becomes a reality everywhere, strengthen and pay more attention to nursing and midwifery influence and leadership: health services will improve as a result and take steps to improve gathering of workforce data in order to better target resources and make changes where they are needed most.
WHO also encouraged nurses and midwives to write to their leaders, share concerns with the people who make policies that can make a difference.
A challenge to the general public stated that the public should show nurses and midwives appreciation for their work and thank them for what they do to keep the society healthy.
Globally, 70% of the health and social workforce are women. Nurses and midwives represent a large portion of this.
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.
Ann-Marie Lawlee – Inclusion Health Nurse Manager dealing with homeless people, Ireland
The challenges of the work is balancing all the different aspects of being an inclusion health nurse and looking at what people need and how to advocate for the best health and housing needs for them
Lorie Steinwand – Métis nurse in Canada’s Northwest Territories
One thing I love about nursing is knowing the community, knowing the people here, knowing I can help offer services to them at any stage in their life.
Fatima Hassan Saleh – Assistant In-Charge, Children’s Department, Mnazi Mmoja Referral Hospital, Zanzibar, Tanzania
Nursing is in my blood. I can work from early morning to late in the evening. So long as the patients need care, I will be here to provide it
Trecia Simone Stewart – Emergency nurse in Jamaica
I want the patient to be treated how I would want to be treated if I was in a healthcare facility, so I am going to give my best so that quality care is given
Agnes Ojok – Nurse/midwife, Aga Khan Hospital, Kisumu, Kenya
I want to see the number of people taking on midwifery increase. We need qualified staff who are equipped with resuscitative skills because mothers are dying outthere due to complications during birth.