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With the world engulfed in the cloud of coronavirus, the theme of supporting nurses and midwives this world health day is rather thought-provoking.
Since it came into effect in 1950, the world health day is celebrated every year on the 7th of April. It is to have a conversation around or build awareness around some specific health concern or theme that this the day is commemorated for. Often the importance of the theme is not limited to this day alone; rather it lingers on to for the entire year – with activists, change-makers, and policy creators working on bringing visible positive change in the society based on the yearly theme.
This year, being the 200th birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale, the WHO has chosen to honor and support nurses and midwives on the world health day. With ‘universal healthcare’ being the main focus of the WHO, the need to build and reinforce the nurses and midwives community is highly critical.
While the coronavirus pandemic has uncovered the pitfalls in the health systems and administrative policies of the world; it has also brought to the forefront the grit and dedication of the medical communities – especially the nurses and midwives. Pan-national infections like COVID-19 have highlighted the need to have a bigger and stronger medical team., particularly that of nurses and midwives. According to WHO, the world needs nearly six million nurses. This means that not only should more people be encouraged to pursue an education in nursing and midwifery take up nursing and midwifery as their education; but that this career path should be attractive enough for one to come forward and pursue it.
Today as the world grapples with the soaring number of coronavirus infected cases, the nursing community has become more relevant. The outbreak has also highlighted how without the nursing community the concept of treatment and care would be rather incomplete. It is in times like these that the civil society should give much-needed respect to the nurses who are tirelessly serving them.
What will happen once we overcome this pandemic? Do we have to wait for another pandemic to bring back the focus on this section of the medical community? Rather, it is time to act now and bring the much-needed change in perspective towards nursing and midwifery.
Many might think that providing more representation to the nursing staff in the leadership role will pave the path for a better future. If you think about it, this would be like running even before one learns to walk. If we intend to support the nurses and midwives, we need to get the basic foundation right. This will mean building frameworks through which they can overcome the socio-economic and professional barriers. Once these barriers are demolished, every nurse and midwife will get the power to make a full-fledged individual contribution towards universal healthcare.
Coronavirus has also underlined the need to:
The medical community is well-known for its commitment to duty and service to mankind. The nurses and midwives, often seen on the lower rung of the medical workforce, play a highly critical role in patient healthcare. It is time that global organizations and world leaders invest in enhancing and improving the working conditions of nurses and midwives world over.
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