Few female nurses occupy senior leadership positions, WHO laments on World Health Day

The World Health Organisation has lamented that though about 90 per cent of all nurses are female, yet few nurses are found in senior health leadership positions.

The WHO noted that the bulk of top positions in health sector, globally, are held by men.

It called on governments to invest in nurses’ training, and to also recognise female nurses’ contributions to the nursing profession by giving them senior appointments in the health sector.

This was contained in the “The State of the World’s Nursing 2020,” released by the WHO headquarters in Geneva to mark the World Health Day 2020.

Speaking in the same vein, the Regional Office for Africa in Brazzaville, Congo, has paid tribute to all healthcare workers battling the novel Coronavirus around the world.

The UN’s health agency paid the tribute on its official twitter account @WHOAFRO to commemorate the World Health Day.

The World Health Day is a global health awareness day celebrated every April 7, under the sponsorship of the WHO, as well as other related organisations.

WHO declared 2020 as the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife; and the day has been set aside to celebrate the work of the caregivers.

“On World Health Day, let’s say thank you to all the nurses and midwives who put themselves at risk to help people everywhere, including in times of outbreaks.

“Today is a day to celebrate the critical role of nurses and midwives in keeping the world healthy.

“Thank you Midwife Helen Masika who worked tirelessly to protect newborns from Ebola infection in Butembo in Democratic Republic of Congo,” WHO stated.

Meanwhile, WHO headquarters in Geneva has launched a new report that provided an in-depth look at the largest component of the health workforce globally to commemorate the day.

In the new report on “The State of the World’s Nursing 2020,” WHO provided an in-depth look at the largest component of the health workforce.

The report highlights the nursing contribution and confirms that investment in the nursing profession is a benefit to society, not a cost.

“The world needs millions more nurses, and we are calling on governments to do the right thing, invest in this wonderful profession and watch their populations benefit from the amazing work that only nurses can do.

“About 90 per cent of all nurses are female, yet few nurses are found in senior health leadership positions – the bulk of those positions are held by men.

“But when countries enable nurses to take a leadership role, for example by having a government chief nursing officer (or equivalent), and nursing leadership programmes, conditions for nurses improve,” the report noted.

The report also said to equip the world with the nursing workforce, it required WHO and its partners recommend that all countries increase funding to educate and employ more nurses; strengthen capacity to collect, analyse and act on data about the health workforce.

It also expects WHO and its partners to monitor nurse mobility and migration and manage it responsibly and ethically.

Additionally, it wants WHO and partners to, “Educate and train nurses in the scientific, technological and sociological skills they need to drive progress in primary health care; establish leadership positions including a government chief nurse and support leadership development among young nurses.

“Ensure that nurses in primary health care teams work to their full potential, for example in preventing and managing non-communicable diseases.

“Improve working conditions including through safe staffing levels, fair salaries, and respecting rights to occupational health and safety; implement gender-sensitive nursing workforce policies.”

The report similarly wants WHO and its partners to, “Modernise professional nursing regulation by harmonising education and practice standards and using systems that can recognise and process nurses’ credentials globally.

“Strengthen the role of nurses in care teams by bringing different sectors (health, education, immigration, finance and labour) together with nursing stakeholders for policy dialogue and workforce planning.”


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