The World Health Organization was founded on April 7, 1948, created as a specialized agency of the United Nations for the betterment of international public health. Today, to commemorate the founding of WHO, we celebrate World Health Day on April 7.
Each year, the WHO selects a specific service in healthcare around the world to highlight. World Health Day last year focused on universal health coverage for all. This year, the focus is on recognizing all the nurses and midwives around the world.
Nurses and midwives are in constant demand in all places of the world, however some countries have many fewer per capita than others. The U.S. has one of the highest rates of nurses and midwives per 10,000 people with nearly 146. Germany, Japan and France aren’t far behind, while Italy, Spain and China have far less. South Africa has one of the lowest rates in the world with just over 17 nurses and midwives per 10,000 people.
Now more than ever, countries are in need of high rates of nurses and midwives. The COVID-19 outbreak is already greatly straining healthcare systems around the world. Nurses and midwives are on the frontline of battling the virus, and the number available for each country could be a key factor in treating patients and flattening the curve.