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  • The Ministry of Health and Wellness has been lauded for spearheading the drive for 2020 to be declared the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, by the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) Representative in Jamaica, Dr. Bernadette Theodore-Gandi.
  • Speaking at the launch of the global event on January 31, at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, in Kingston, she also commended the nation’s nurses and midwives for their invaluable contribution to society.
  • “Today, nurses and midwives play a vital role in providing health services throughout the life course from birth to death and at every level of the health system from primary care to tertiary care. They devote their lives to care for mothers and children; giving lifesaving immunisation and health advice; looking after older people and generally meeting everyday essential health needs,” Dr. Theodore-Gandi said.

The Ministry of Health and Wellness has been lauded for spearheading the drive for 2020 to be declared the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, by the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) Representative in Jamaica, Dr. Bernadette Theodore-Gandi.

Speaking at the launch of the global event on January 31, at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, in Kingston, she also commended the nation’s nurses and midwives for their invaluable contribution to society.

“Today, nurses and midwives play a vital role in providing health services throughout the life course from birth to death and at every level of the health system from primary care to tertiary care. They devote their lives to care for mothers and children; giving lifesaving immunisation and health advice; looking after older people and generally meeting everyday essential health needs,” Dr. Theodore-Gandi said.

“Nurses and midwives are often the first and sometimes the only health professional that people see and the quality of their initial assessment, care and treatment is vital,” she added.

The WHO declared 2020 as the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, in honour of the bicentenary of the birth of the founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale.

The designation was proposed to the WHO Assembly and Executive Board in Geneva, Switzerland, in January 2019 by the Jamaican delegation on behalf of Health and Wellness Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, and was later endorsed at the 72nd WHO Assembly in May 2019.

This year-long celebration is also to recognise the work of nurses and midwives around the world and advocate for increased investment in this workforce, and improvement in working conditions, education and professional development.

Dr. Theodore-Gandi appealed to Jamaicans to join in the year-long celebrations to highlight the work of nurses and midwives, the challenging conditions they often face, and to advocate for increased investment in nursing and midwifery.

With nine million nurses and midwives needed worldwide to achieve universal health coverage by 2030, PAHO is encouraging Governments to invest more in nursing.

“Achieving health for all will depend on there being sufficient numbers of well trained and educated, regulated and well supported nurses and midwives, who receive pay and recognition commensurate with services and quality of care that they provide,” Dr. Theodore-Gandi said.

Investing in nurses and midwives is good value for money, she noted, while pointing to the report of the United Nations High Level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth, which conclude that investment in education and job creation in the health and social security sectors results in a triple return of improved health outcomes, global health security and inclusive economic growth.