This World Health Day, we honor the contribution of nurses and midwives, recognizing their vital role in keeping the world healthy. Nurses and other health workers are at the frontlines of COVID-19 response, putting their own health at risk to protect the broader community.
Comprising more than two-thirds of the health workforce in the WHO Western Pacific Region, nurses are critical in responding to health needs in all settings and across the lifespan. In the 2020 International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife, the World Health Day is an opportunity to highlight the work of nursing and midwifery around the world, while celebrating this workforce as one of the most valuable resources of every country.
World Health Day is also an opportunity to advocate for commitment and resources to strengthen the nursing and midwifery workforce, improve their education and working conditions, and enable them to work to their full potential.
State of the World’s Nursing 2020
Coinciding with World Health Day is the global launch of the State of the World’s Nursing 2020 report, developed by WHO in partnership with the International Council of Nurses and the worldwide Nursing Now campaign, and with the support of governments and wider partners. The report presents a compelling case for governments and partners to take more decisive action to strengthen and support the nursing workforce.
The report provides a technical description of the nursing workforce worldwide and highlights their contribution in delivering Universal Health Coverage and the Sustainable Development Goals. The report draws on data compiled from 193 countries, including 31 member countries and territories in the Western Pacific Region.
Facts and Figures
- The global nursing workforce is around 28 million, of which more than 19 million are professional nurses.
- The Western Pacific Region has around 7 million nurses, who comprise a quarter of the global nursing workforce.
- 95% of the nurses in the Western Pacific Region are women.
- Half (51%) of nurses in the Western Pacific Region are below 35 years of age.
- One nurse out of three (33%) in the Region is born or trained in a country other than their current country of practice.
- In 2018, the shortage of nurses in the Region was estimated to be 350,000. 89% of this shortage is concentrated in low- and lower middle-income countries.