WHO declares 2020 as “Year of the Nurse and Midwife”

Saturday 16th February, 2019
Mr Felix Nyante Nursing and Midwifery Council

By Maxwell Awumah, GNA

Hohoe (V/R), Feb. 16, GNA - Mr Felix Nyante, Executive Director/Registrar, Nursing and Midwifery Council, Ghana, has said the country is poised to celebrate the bicentenary anniversary of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing as relevant and apt.

He acknowledged her multitasking role as contributing significantly towards the development of nursing and midwifery in Ghana and the world at large.

Mr Nyante was speaking to the Ghana News Agency on the World Health Organization (WHO) declaration of the year 2020 as the “Year of the Nurse and Midwife,” in honour of the 200th birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale.

According to a WHO release, this designation is expected to be presented to member states of the 72nd World Health Assembly for final consideration and endorsement.

“Our practitioners are a great asset for the country and we intend to safeguard and strengthen the profession through greater investment in improving education, professional development, standards and regulation.

Mr Nyante said the celebration would be used to reflect as a country, our commitment and mechanisms to employ towards the achievement of the sustainable development goal (SDG) 3 by 2030.

He said with the ongoing digitisation drive in the regulation of training, education and practice of nursing and midwifery in Ghana, healthcare delivery will witness more competent, safe, prompt and efficient outcomes as espoused by Nightingale.

“We salute her for her resilience in serving humanity and the example she has left us, which is just as relevant today as she was in her lifetime (1820-1910).”

WHO says the campaign is particularly important given that nurses and midwives constitute more than 50 percent of the health workforce in many countries.

Howard Catton, Director, Nursing, Policy and Programmes at the WHO, said “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”.

He said, “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,”

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.”

GNA