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World Health Day

Every year, the World Health Organization (WHO) selects a priority area of global public health concern as the theme for World Health Day, which falls on 7 April, the birthday of the Organization.

World Health Day 2020 - Support Nurses and Midwives

The theme for World Health Day 2020 is Support Nurses and Midwives.

7 April 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 - 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.</p.

In this International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife, World Health Day will highlight the current status of nursing and 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.

Key messages

  • 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 traditions, 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. And when a midwife or group of midwives provides care from pregnancy to the end of the postnatal period, almost a quarter of pre-term births can be prevented.
  • 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.
  • Five key investment areas:
    • Accelerate investments in nursing and midwifery education
    • Employ more specialist nurses
    • Invest in the leadership skills of nurses and midwives.
    • Make midwives and nurses the heart of primary health care
    • Support nurses and midwives in delivering health promotion and disease prevention.

Source : World Health Organisation

Related Resources

  1. Posters about WHD 2020
  2. State of the World’s Nursing Report 2020
  3. Advocacy Tool Kit for WHD 2020


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