The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said the world would require nine million more nurses and midwives to realise the health-related global Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
According to the latest estimates from WHO, there are 1.6 million nurses and midwives across 47 African countries.
In her message to mark this year’s International Nurses’ Day, WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, said Africa has long grappled with severe shortage of nurses which, if left unaddressed poses significant threat, “to our progress towards Universal Health Coverage.”
Moeti also said WHO’s analysis showed that: “The world needs nine million more nurses and midwives to realise the health-related global Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.”
She said nurses have a critical role to play in primary healthcare delivery. She also said WHO in Africa’s analysis had identified a threshold of about 60 nurses and midwives per 10 000 people as a critical point for attaining at least 70 percent of the Universal Health service coverage index.
She, however, said currently, most countries have fewer than 20 nurses with the number dropping way below that in many countries across the continent.
She further said a total 66 percent of nurses are concentrated in six countries – Algeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, and South Africa – with Nigeria having the highest share of the headcount of nurses at 21 per cent, followed by South Africa at 18 per cent.
The WHO Regional Director also urged African governments to make necessary investments to help improve the attractiveness of the nursing profession in their countries.
She said that around 80 percent of primary health care could be delivered by nurses, adding that it would require proper equipment, better working conditions, appropriate education, upskilling opportunities, and job creation.
The world body further said nursing leadership needed to be optimised, with chief nursing and midwifery officers mandated to drive the nursing agenda across education, employment, policy and practice.
“Around 80 percent of primary health care can be delivered by nurses, and the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly served as an important platform to reiterate how integral nurses are to the maintenance of routine health care delivery, while also responding to a global crisis.
“The case for investing in nursing education, jobs and leadership is clear, and it’s time to commit to action,” she said.
WHO’s scribe said nurses have made great sacrifices, acted courageously and recommitted daily to tackle COVID19, a global health threat that is unprecedented in modern times, serving as an indispensable pillar supporting African health care systems through some very challenging times.
International Nurses’ Day is celebrated annually on May 12, in memory of the birth of the founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale, but also to honour nurses as an invaluable resource, and raise awareness of the challenges they face.
This year’s theme, “Nurses: A Voice to Lead – Invest in Nursing and Respect Rights to Secure Global Health”.
Meanwhile, Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has said his government would sustain investment in nursing education as well as ensure that the state’s newly upgraded College of Nursing Sciences grooms medical professionals to sustain ongoing reforms in the healthcare system. According to a statement, Obaseki, who gave the assurance in commemoration of the International Nurses Day, called for concerted efforts among stakeholders to address the global shortage of nurses.
Hailing nurses across the globe for the extra care and long hours they invest in taking care of patients and saving lives, Obaseki assured that the state would continue to prioritise the wellbeing of nurses and other caregivers in the state, ensuring better packages and working conditions to guarantee that they meet the needs of their patients and adequately complement government efforts at improving access to quality and affordable healthcare services to Edo people.
He noted, “We want to use the opportunity of this year’s International Nurses Day to celebrate and commend our nurses and other healthcare givers for their role in providing essential services to patients and assisting with the efficient management of healthcare centres.”
Culled from THISDAY