In honour of the 200th birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale, WHO has declared 2020 the “Year of the Nurse and Midwife”.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has designated the year 2020 as the “Year of the Nurse and midwife”, in honour of the 200th birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale. This designation will now be presented to Member States of the 72nd World Health Assembly for the final consideration and endorsement.
WHO says the campaign is particularly important given that nurses and midwives constitute more than 50% of the health workforce in many countries.
Howard Catton, Director, Nursing, Policy and Programmes emphasised that “Next year there will be a unique opportunity to honour the nursing contribution to the health of our world by celebrating the bicentenary of the birth of Florence Nightingale”.
Mr Catton outlined that “This celebration offers a platform to recognise past and present nurse leaders globally, raise the visibility of the nursing profession in policy dialogue and invest in the development and increased capacity of the nursing workforce. Nurses, who make up approximately half of the health workforce and who are intrinsically linked to the ability of countries to address health priorities and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, will turn the ambition of achieving health for all people into a reality,”
‘She would burst with pride’.
Dame Donna Kinnair, the Royal College of Nursing’s Acting Chief Executive and General Secretary, said: “Modern nursing may be unrecognisable from the work of Florence Nightingale, but she would burst with pride at how far our profession has come. Marking two hundred years since her birth with this dedication is extremely fitting.
“As the nursing workforce around the world face similar challenges this century, the WHO’s work will bring the clear value of nurses into even sharper focus as we collaborate with them to showcase innovation and skill.
“Different countries and different health services each experience the challenge of inadequate nurse numbers to safely staff services, a lack of investment in future generations or colleagues prevented from realising their full potential. If we are to address global health inequality and combat major disease in this century, that is something that must change.
“We look forward to celebrations throughout 2020 but it must also be a year when the world comes together to take united and concrete action to place the health and wellbeing front and centre.”