January 1, 2020, marks the beginning of the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife and a major global effort to highlight an acute shortage of these crucial health workers. The World Health Organization selected 2020 to celebrate the work of nurses and midwives because it is the bicentenary of the birth of the founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale.
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.
We are also delighted that Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge has recognized the value and importance of this work, sending a letter of appreciation to all midwives, available here.
The world needs 9 million more nurses and midwives if it is to achieve universal health coverage by 2030.
WHO’s key partners working to mark this year include the International Confederation of Midwives, International Council of Nurses, Nursing Now and the United Nations Population Fund.