French President Emmanuel Macron, wearing a protective face mask, talks with health workers as he visits a medical center in Pantin, near Paris, as the spread of COVID-19 continues in France, Tuesday, April 7.
READ MORE: The World Health Organization warns a severe global shortage of nurses is putting the lives of millions of people at risk and is particularly worrisome at a time when the world is doing battle with the COVID-19 pandemic. To mark World Health Day, the first ever State of the World’s Nursing Report, produced jointly by WHO and the International Council of Nurses, is being launched.
Data from 191 countries show the critical work performed by nurses is frequently undervalued. Instead of celebrating their skills and compassion, the survey finds nurses too often are abused, subject to discrimination and work long hours under stressful conditions for low pay.
Nurses account for more than half of all the world’s health workers and are the backbone of any health system. The report reveals there are just under 28 million nurses worldwide, which leaves a global shortfall of nearly 6 million nurses.
The greatest gaps are found in countries in Africa, South East Asia, the Eastern Mediterranean region and some parts of Latin America. CEO of the International Council of Nurses and co-chair of the report, Howard Catton, says nursing shortages put many lives at risk, especially in light of COVID-19.