Missing six million nurses in the world, warned Tuesday the World Health Organization (WHO) that calls for urgent measures to alleviate this deficit that has been exposed to the pandemic coronavirus.
In a new report on the state of the nursing in the world, the health agency of the UN, Nursing Now, and the International Council of Nurses (ICN) highlighted the important role played by the nursing staff, mostly nurses, who represent more than half of the health workers at the global level.
“Nurses are the backbone of any health system,” says the director of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement.
“Today, many nurses are on the front line of the battle against the COVID-19,” before underlining that it is essential that “receive the support they need to keep healthy to the world.”
The report notes that there is a little less than 28 million nurses and nurses around the world. In the previous five years to 2018, the number grew by 4.7 million.
“But this still leaves an overall deficit of 5.9 billion,” according to the WHO, which states that the greatest gaps are found in the poorest countries of Africa, Southeast asia, the Middle East and parts of South America.
The document calls for the countries to identify major gaps in their nursing staff and to prioritize investment in education, jobs and leadership in this branch.
Deficit that ‘exhausts the employees’
Howard Catton, executive director of the ITI, said in a virtual conference that the rates of infection, medication errors and mortality rates “are higher where there are very few nurses”.
It is more, “the shortage depleted to our current employees of nursing”, he said.
In the fight against the pandemic coronavirus, Mary Watkins, who co-chairs the report calls for an urgent investment to provide a test for the health workers.
“We have a very high proportion of health workers who do not go to work because they fear having been infected and who can’t prove they are not infected (…) or what you have been and what they have overcome,” he explained in the conference.
Catton stated that 23 nurses were killed in Italy, and cited figures that suggest that around 100 health workers have died all over the world.
On the other hand, said that he had information that a 9% of the toilets were found to be infected in Italy, and added: “Now we know that rates of infection of up to 14% in Spain.”
He also asserted that there was information attacks “totally unacceptable and reprehensible” against health fight against the COVID-19, due to a lack of knowledge about what they are doing and an action to be insufficient for the countries to protect them.
Catton thanked, in contrast, the growing appreciation in some countries for the work of the nurses, something that, he said, could change the mindset around the value of this profession.
Beyond the COVID-19, Watkins emphasized that many tread on me rich are not producing enough nurses to meet its own needs for medical care, and therefore depend on migration, increasing scarcity in the poorest countries.
“80% of the nurses of the world, it currently serves to the 50% of the population,” he said.
The executive director of the ICN warned that there are “risks” in the richer countries that are dependent on the Philippines and India to “supply the world with nurses”, and it is anticipated a significant deficit in India.
The experts ensure that nursing continues to be exerted mostly by women, and the need to recruit more men.
“There is a clear evidence that where there are more men in a profession in the world, the wages and conditions improve,” said Mary Watkins.