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Celebrating the Year of the Nurse and Midwife

In recognition of the vital role nurses and midwives play in global health, the World Health Organization (WHO) has joined forces with the International Council of Nurses, the International Council of Midwives and the United Nations Population Fund to designate 2020 the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife. It is also in this year that we celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale on May 12th.

Nurses constitute 50% of health workers in many countries and are vital to achievement of worldwide health coverage. The World Health Organization (2020) estimates an additional 9 million nurses and midwives are needed by the year 2030 – only ten years from now! According to the World Health Organization the year-long event celebrating the contributions of nurses and midwives has three goals:
•    Celebrate the work of nurses and midwives
•    Highlight the challenges they face
•    Advocate for increased investments in the nurse and midwife workforces

Led by the World Health Organization, a State of the World’s Nursing report was made available for the first time on April 7, 2020, as well as a State of the World’s Midwifery report that was launched at the same time. Celebratory events are scheduled throughout the year and across the globe. To look for events that you might be interested in, or to add an event, visit the International Council of Nursing site at:

There is also a global photo contest with five categories (2020 Year of the Nurse and Midwife (2020):
•    Nurses at Work
•    Future Nurse
•    Where I’m a nurse
•    Why I’m a Nurse
•    The Impact of Nurses
Look for the hashtag #NursingInFocus on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. The winners will be announced and displayed at:

A World Health Organization (2020) website features nurses from around the world.  Their stories are fascinating, uplifting, and a tremendous source of pride. From cervical cancer screening in England, to bringing midwifery to northern Canada, to primary care in Poland – nurses and midwives are improving the health of people and changing communities for the better. I especially enjoyed the stories featuring nurses who care for patients in their homes - community nurses in Romania providing wound care, public health nurses in Guatemala administering HPV vaccines, nurses in the Philippines providing prenatal care to women in remote areas. Visit the website to read these and many more stories.

What are you and your colleagues doing to improve the lives of others? Add your story - stand up and be recognized alongside our inspiring colleagues from around the world.

Best wishes,
Maureen Anthony, PhD, RN

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