Health workforce

A global survey monitoring progress in nursing and midwifery

A Global Survey Monitoring Progress in Nursing and Midwifery

Publication details

Number of pages: 104
Publication date: 2010
Languages: English
WHO reference number: WHO/HRH/HPN/10.4


In 2002, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued resolution WHA54.12, calling attention to the global shortage of nurses and midwives, and urging Member States to take action towards improving nursing and midwifery services. Later that year, the WHO went on to publish Strategic directions for strengthening nursing and midwifery services, which provided a framework of five key result areas to guide Member States in enhancing their support of nurses and midwives. Specifically, this document recommended improvements in the areas of human resources and planning, management of personnel, evidence-based practice, education and stewardship.

The current report summarizes information gathered from Member States about their progress towards meeting the WHO’s targeted objectives, and provides a preliminary analysis of the influence that initiatives are having on the effectiveness of certain policies as well as several population health outcomes.

Responses from 77 Member States were collected and categorized according to Human Development Index ratings. Results showed that many respondent Member States have made efforts to meet the key results areas and Millennium Development Goals outlined in the Strategic directions for strengthening nursing and midwifery services.

Progress was not limited to high HDI ranked Member States, but was also evident in many medium and low HDI ranked Member States. Despite their efforts, however, over 70(%) of survey respondents indicated that their country was experiencing a shortage of nurses and midwives, suggesting a continued need for intervention and improvement of these services.