Often nurses and midwives are the first and only point of care in their communities. They play a vital role in providing health services. Nurses and Midwives are the individuals who choose to happily devote their lives to caring for mothers and babies; giving lifesaving immunizations and health advice; looking after older people and generally meeting everyday essential health needs. WHO’s work related to midwives and nurses is currently directed by World Health Assembly. The World Health Assembly has announced 2020 the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife. The organization also calls for increased investment in the nursing and midwifery workforce. One way could be by educating nurses and midwives to international standards that could help save resources by reducing the need for costly and unnecessary interventions and increases quality of care and health for all.
Almost 9 million more nurses and midwives are required worldwide if it is to achieve universal health coverage by 2030.
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 have highlighted the difficult times and challenging situations they often face, and advocate for increased investments in the nursing and midwifery workforce.
Since Nurses and midwives are undervalued and are not able to fulfil their true potential and so in 2020, WHO aims to ensure that all nurses and midwives operate in a safe environment, receive respect by medical colleagues and community members, have complete access to a functioning health-care service and where their work is integrated with other health-care professionals.
Role of midwives and nurses
The role of nurses and midwives is comprehensive and involves education, treatment, and collaboration with a more skilled medical team.
The word ‘midwife’ means ‘with woman’. The role of midwife is distinctive and crucial in the care and treatment of a mother and child throughout the birth process. A midwife is widely known to be a trained professional who assists women with pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period. The job of the midwife is diverse and includes supporting women and their families, providing information about how to maintain healthy pregnancies and carrying out clinical examinations.
Nurses play a major role in in health promotion, disease prevention and delivering primary and community care. They provide care in emergency settings and will be the key pillar to the achievement of universal health coverage.
Achieving health for everyone depends on availability of 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.
Nursing Now campaign launched in early 2018 has WHO as a collaborating partner. The 3-year campaign has objective to improve health globally by raising the status and profile of nursing, demonstrating what more can be achieved by a strengthened nursing profession, and enabling nurses to maximize their contribution and potential to achieving universal health coverage.