For hundreds of years, nurses and midwives have tirelessly worked to improve the health and well-being of others. To celebrate their invaluable contribution to global health care, on 30 January 2019, WHO Executive Board designated the year 2020 as the “Year of the Nurse and midwife”, in honor of the 200th birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale. This proposal then was presented to Member States of the 72nd World Health Assembly for consideration and endorsement.
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.
That’s why the World Health Assembly has designated 2020 the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife.
It’s a once-in-a-generation opportunity, not just for nations to show nurses and midwives that they are fundamental to achieving universal health care and sustainable development goals, but for 20 million nurses around the world to showcase how much they do, and how much more they can achieve with more support.