07 April 2020

Every Woman Every Child Statement for World Health Day

On World Health Day (7 April 2020) and as part of the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, Every Woman Every Child joins the international community in celebrating the strength and courage of nurses and midwives. Today, we are especially reminded of the heroic and essential work of nurses who are at the forefront of the COVID-19 response – providing high-quality, respectful treatment and care, leading community dialogue to address fears and questions and collecting data for clinical studies. They often care for and save lives whilst being separated from their own families, working under difficult circumstances with limited resources, many in humanitarian and fragile contexts and risking their own health and well-being to care for others. 

Nurses are a critical and indispensable part of the COVID-19 frontline response and without greater investments to train, strengthen and protect the nursing and midwifery workforce, we will not be able to win the fight against this pandemic.  Furthermore, achieving long-term national and global targets related to universal health coverage, maternal and child health, infectious and non-communicable diseases, and the delivery of people-centered care will also be unlikely. The WHO estimates there will be a worldwide shortfall of nine million nurses and midwives by 2030, a deficit that is already being felt today in the wake of a global pandemic pushing our healthcare system and its workforce to the brink. Radical action is needed today, more than ever.

Today we also celebrate Every Woman Every Child commitment-makers who support and safeguard nurses and other frontline health workers, helping us advance the Secretary-General’s Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health and Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development. 

For example, over the years, the Council of International Neonatal Nurses (COINN) has committed to working with country health departments to train healthcare workers in newborn care, particularly preterm and sick newborns. This includes training nurses in Helping Babies Breathe, S.T.A.B.L.E., Kangaroo Mother Care, and basic neonatal care, and providing leadership development for nurses at local and global levels to advocate for policy changes on the provision of neonatal care. Similarly, the business community  has also played an instrumental role in protecting and strengthening the healthcare workforce, particularly Johnson & Johnson, through their Center for Health Worker Innovation. J&J has invested 250 million USD to support one million nurses, midwives and other frontline community health workers, with the aim of reaching 100 million patients by 2030. These efforts not only bolster a system in times of health, but also ahead of times of great needs. 

Every Woman Every Child joins the World Health Organization, in calling on world leaders and the international community to celebrate and strengthen the nursing and midwifery workforces to ensure that every woman, child and adolescent, everywhere gets the quality healthcare they need. Please, make a commitment today to show you care.