The world is lacking nearly 6 million nurses, an important force in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a WHO newspaper.
The World Health Organization (WHO) on April 7 warned that the world lacks nearly six million nurses, according to AFP.
The UN health agency and its partners such as the Nursing Now campaign and the World Nursing Council (ICN) emphasized this in a report.
“Nurses are the cornerstone of any health system,” declared WHO head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
“Today, many nurses are on the front lines of the battle against Covid-19,” noted Tedros. He also added that it is important that they “get the support they need to keep the world healthy”.
The report says there are fewer than 28 million nurses in the world.
From 2013 to 2018, the number of nurses increased to 4.7 million.
“However, the world still lacks 5.9 million nurses,” WHO said, pointing out that the biggest gap lies in poor countries in Africa, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and part of South America.
The report also calls on countries to identify gaps in nurses’ investments in training, employment and nurse leadership.
ICN chief executive Howard Catton said at a briefing meeting that infection rates, medication errors and mortality rates “were all higher in places where there were too few nurses”.
Moreover, “the lack of manpower exhausted the current nurse force,” he added.
To combat the pandemic, Mary Watkins, who co-chaired the Nursing Now report, called for urgent investment in virus testing for health workers.
“The percentage of health-care workers who do not work because they are afraid that they have been infected and they cannot prove that they are not infected or have a virus and get well cured,” Catton said.