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WHO warns of global shortage of nurses, midwives by 2030


The World Health Organization has raised concerns about a looming shortage of nurses and midwives worldwide.

On International Nurses Day, the WHO highlighted the current deficit, with an estimated 29 million nurses and 2.2 million midwives globally, predicting a shortfall of 4.8 million nurses and 0.31 million midwives by 2030.

This shortage is particularly acute in Africa, Southeast Asia, the Eastern Mediterranean region, and parts of Latin America. Nurses and midwives play crucial roles in healthcare systems, providing essential care, shaping health policies, and driving primary care initiatives. They are indispensable for emergency response and ensuring the sustainability of healthcare.

According to the WHO, nurses constitute half of all healthcare professionals in many countries, influencing how health actions are organized and implemented. Women comprise a significant portion of the healthcare workforce, representing 67 percent in the health and social sector, compared to 41 percent across all employment sectors.

Nursing and midwifery are predominantly female-dominated professions, with over 80 percent of the world’s nurses working in countries that make up only half of the global population. Additionally, a considerable number of nurses (one in eight) practice in countries different from where they were born or trained.

The prevalence of female nurses correlates with positive health outcomes, including improved health service coverage, increased life expectancy, and reduced infant mortality rates. Investing in nurses and midwives is crucial for developing efficient, effective, and sustainable healthcare systems globally.