May 5 marks the International Day of the Midwife. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, midwives continue to show resilience and provide life-saving services to pregnant women, ensuring healthy outcomes for women and their babies.
The theme for “International Day of the Midwife 2020” is ‘Midwives with women: celebrate, demonstrate, mobilize, unite – our time is NOW!’
Nursing and midwifery : Key facts
Nurses and midwives play a vital role in providing health services. These are the people who devote their lives to caring for mothers and children; giving lifesaving immunizations and health advice; looking after older people and generally meeting everyday essential health needs. They 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.
As part of strong multi-disciplinary health care 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.
Nurses and midwives account for nearly 50% of the global health workforce.
There is a global shortage of health workers, in particular nurses and midwives, who represent more than 50% of the current shortage in health workers.
The largest needs-based shortages of nurses and midwives are in South East Asia and Africa.
For all countries to reach Sustainable Development Goal 3 on health and well-being, WHO estimates that the world will need an additional 9 million nurses and midwives by the year 2030.
Nurses play a critical role in health promotion, disease prevention and delivering primary and community care. They provide care in emergency settings and will be key to the achievement of universal health coverage.
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.
Investing in nurses and midwives is good value for money. The report of the UN High Level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth concluded that investments in education and job creation in the health and social sectors result in a triple return of improved health outcomes, global health security, and inclusive economic growth.
Globally, 70% of the health and social workforce are women compared to 41% in all employment sectors. Nursing and midwifery occupations represent a significant share of the female workforce.
(Source – WHO)