.FILE PHOTO (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

WHO says 6 million new nurses needed by 2030

CAPE TOWN- The Coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the need for quality healthcare services and according to a World Health Organization (WHO) report six million more nurses are needed by 2030 to ensure healthcare standards rise again after the pandemic.

The State of the World’s Nursing report indicates that a significant increase in recruitment and training is needed if the world is to achieve universal health coverage and to hit the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

According to the report, nursing is the largest occupational group in the health sector, accounting for around 59% of the health professions.  

Gathering data from 191 countries around the world, the report said the total number of nurse graduates would need to increase by 8% per year and that 5.9 million new nurses will be needed in middle- and low-income nations. 


The current global nursing workforce stands at approximately 27.9 million, of which 19.3 million are professional nurses. 

The international mobility of the nursing workforce is increasing and many countries are failing to train and retain their own nurses. One in eight nurses currently works in a country other than the one in which they were trained.

Countries that are experiencing excessive losses of their nurses through migration should consider mitigating measures and retention packages, suggests the report. Salary improvements, pay equity, working conditions, and creating professional development opportunities would help in nurse retention. 

“Our emergency preparedness and response capacity is being tested by the current Covid-19 outbreak and mass population displacement caused by conflict. Nurses provide vital care in each of these circumstances. Now, more than ever, the world needs them working to the full extent of their education and training,” said the report.

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