According to WHO, nurses and midwives account for more than 50 percent of the global health workforce, and the shortage of such workers represents more than 50 percent of the current shortage overall.
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"Nurses play a critical role in health promotion, disease prevention and delivering primary and community care. They provide care in emergency settings and will be key to the achievement of universal health coverage," the agency states on its website. Investing in nurses and midwives is also economically smart—research from the United Kingdom has found "investments in education and job creation in the health and social sectors result in a triple return of improved health outcomes, global health security, and inclusive economic growth."
Strengthening these sectors will also help promote gender equity, according to WHO. Seventy percent of the global health and social workforce are women.
Read more about the 2020 initiatives at who.int.