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South-East Asia countries need to strengthen nurses’ cadre: WHO


PTI, Apr 7, 2020, 1:52 PM IST

New Delhi: Lauding tireless efforts being made by frontline health workers in tackling COVID-19, the World Health Organization on Tuesday said countries in South-East Asia need to redouble efforts to strengthen and expand their nurses and midwives’ cadre by 1.9 million to achieve health for all by 2030.

Nurses and midwives are central to quality health services for all, for preventing illness, promoting health throughout the life-course, caring for mothers, newborns and children to giving life-saving immunizations, health advice, and looking after older people, said Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia, on the occasion of the World Health Day

“We must redouble our efforts to ensure the nursing and midwifery workforce has the strength, skills and support to meet all people’s health needs,” she said.

The theme of the World Health Day, which marks the foundation of World Health Organization, is support and strengthen the nursing and midwifery workforce.

In 2015, WHO South-East Asia embarked on a Decade for Health Workforce Strengthening aimed at overcoming shortages and skill-gaps in the Region’s health workforce.

Improving nursing and midwifery education, deployment and rural retention has been a top priority. By 2018 the Region had 3.5 million nurses and midwives 18 per 10,000 population – up from 2.9 million in 2014, a ratio of 16 per 10,000 population.

There has been progress, but more needs to be done, the Regional Director said. The regional average is still far below the global average of 37 nurses per 10,000 population, and the required minimum of 40 nurses by

10,000 population, By 2030 the region will need as many as 1.9 million more nurses and midwives.
The global outbreak of COVID-19 emphasizes how crucial nurses are to health security, and WHO takes this opportunity to thank them for their service in these challenging times, the Regional Director said.

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