The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared 2021 the International Year of Nurse and Midwife to recognise the “dedication and sacrifice” of the millions of healthcare workers on the Covid-19 front line. This is an opportunity to showcase and celebrate the work of nurses and midwives, highlight the challenging conditions they often face, and advocate for increased investments in the nursing and midwifery workforce.
The global COVID-19 pandemic has shown the world the important role that nurses play in keeping people healthy across the lifespan in various healthcare facilities. The pandemic has exposed the weaknesses in our health systems and the enormous pressures our nurses are working under, as well as shining a light on their incredible everyday commitment and courage. The pandemic has also given us the opportunity to reconsider and explore new models of care where nurses are at the centre of our health systems. Nurses, as the largest healthcare profession, must play an integral part in planning the future of healthcare.
WHO director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: “We need to collectively strengthen our investment in training healthcare personnel to end the Covid-19 pandemic and achieve health for all.” The organisation has said that vaccinating the entire health sector worldwide is a priority as they are the most vulnerable to infection.
“The whole world has recognised their merit and bravery” said Dr Hans Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe.
In addition, Dr Kluge underlined that “there is no health without the health workforce. Their merits have been recognised globally, and this should lead to a new moral and material future for them in line with their responsibilities. And I salute here the nurses and the midwives. It is your year. But you have been so busy that in the WHO European Region I decided to extend the year into 2021. We will push back COVID-19 and I promise: we will celebrate you.”
Dr Maria Cassar, Head of the Department of Nursing within the University of Malta’s Faculty of Health Sciences, said that while goals of nursing education are fundamental, COVID-19 has highlighted the important role of the nurse and now more than ever education is key to preventive care, and our Department is committed to keep facilitating this exchange of knowledge into practice.