In May 2019, the World Health Organization confirmed that 2020 would be dedicated nurses and midwives, providing a “once in a generation opportunity” to showcase the professions. It chose the theme to coincide with the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale. Nurses and midwives play a vital role in providing health services. Throughout this year, WHO will work closely with partners to celebrate the contributions of nurses and midwives, highlight the challenges they often face, and advocate for planned investment in the nursing and midwifery workforce.
WHO has pulled together a campaign toolkit (see link below), describing the next 12 months as a unique opportunity to get involved and demonstrate broad public and political support for more nurses and midwives. In April 2020, WHO will publish a State of the World’s Nursing report on progress and challenges to deliver effective coverage and quality midwifery services. It will provide an overview of each nation’s nursing workforce, including number and type of nurses, education, regulation, practice, leadership and gender issues.
At European level, WHO-Europe has identified eight recommended actions to strengthen the nursing and midwifery workforce, including “developing effective workforce planning strategies”. Action to implement these recommendations will also take into account the 2015 European strategic directions for strengthening nursing and midwifery towards Health 2020 goals.


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