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Increased Investment In Nurses Will Help Strengthen Health Systems Worldwide

“It is in poor countries and communities, where health needs are greatest and physicians are scarce, that nurses take an even greater role in health care delivery, often serving as the sole providers in rural villages or urban slums,” Sheila Davis, director of global nursing at Partners In Health, writes in a Huffington Post “Impact Blog” opinion piece, noting this is International Nurses Week. “But although nurses deliver 90 percent of all health care services worldwide, they remain largely invisible at decision-making tables in national capitals and international agencies. Their absence constitutes a global health crisis,” Davis continues.

“The WHO human resources annual report of 2008 revealed that over 90 percent of its professional staff are medical specialists; less than one percent are nursing specialists, even though nurses make up over 80 percent of the global health care workforce,” she writes. Davis describes several Partners In Health initiatives in which the organization is “working with partner organizations and national Ministries of Health to strengthen nursing efforts and raise nursing visibility across the board,” and concludes, “These long-term, grassroots initiatives are shaping the new face of nursing in global health. With the investment of the global community in nurse training, mentorship, and leadership, we can make enormous strides in strengthening health systems” (5/8).