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New PAHO publication highlights the contribution of nurses in promoting universal health

12 May 2020

Washington, DC, May 12, 2019 (PAHO) - The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) launched a new publication, Perspectives and Contributions of Nursing to the Promotion of Universal Health, on the International Day of Nurses, celebrated on May 12.

The publication, an effort by PAHO in cooperation with the University of Illinois at Chicago, presents 41 projects, activities, stories, and case studies received from the countries of the Region, illustrating the role of nurses and midwives in advancing toward universal health.

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It also details these essential health workers' rich contribution to health systems, universities, prisons, communities, governments, and schools in all the countries of the Americas, with a view to promoting primary health care and universal health

An epilogue includes a powerful story of two American nurses on the front lines of the COVID-19 epidemic. It is further proof of the vital role these health workers have in advancing health for all.

The Region of the Americas has around 9 million nursing professionals, of which 4.5 million are registered nurses. The nursing and midwifery workforce represents nearly 50 percent of the health workforce, and they are critical to providing primary health care.

Among the greatest challenges facing the sector are the adoption of effective policies at the national and regional levels that include adequate investment to overcome the shortage of human resources, the expansion of the role of nurses, regulation and improvement of working conditions.

The 72nd World Health Assembly designated 2020 as the International Year of Nursing and Midwifery Professionals, to highlight global nursing and health human resources. And this year, World Health Day was also dedicated to nursing and midwifery professionals.

Around the world today, nurses and health teams are at the forefront of the fight to stop the spread of COVID-19, putting their lives at risk, which inspires and reminds us of the importance of investing in them, respecting and valuing their work, and trusting them.