2020: The Year of the Nurse and the Midwife

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As we all know, nurses and midwives play a vital role in our health services across the world. They are the people that are solely dedicated to caring for mothers and their children, saving lives and giving advice and support, as well as looking after older people. So many of us have had our own, hugely positive experience with nurses and midwives, as they are often the only point of care in our local communities. Its therefore clear that we need more nurses and midwives- 9 million in fact. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has stated that we need a huge increase if we are achieve universal health coverage by the end of 2020.

As such, the World Health Assembly has decided that 2020 is the first ever International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife, which coincides with the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale.

Partners include the WHO, the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM), the International Council of Nurses (ICN), Nursing Now and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) who are driving efforts to celebrate the continual work of our nurses and midwives.

The celebration will also highlight the challenging conditions that they often face, as well as the need for investment in strengthening the nursing and midwifery workforce. Many lack the training, equipment and supplies they desperately need to deliver basic health services, especially in poorer countries and war zones. 2020 is the year that this will change.

There will be plenty of opportunity to showcase these professions through multiple campaigns taking place across the globe. Public conferences and meetings with active participation of nurses, midwives and health care leaders will be scheduled throughout the year, as well as events such as the International Day of the Midwife and the International Nurses Day taking place in May. If you’d like to get involved in the celebrations, the WHO have created an online toolkit which provides a timeline of ideas and resources to aid local, global and national initiatives that support nursing and midwifery campaigns.