The World Health Organization, WHO, has raised alarm about the shortage of nurses, especially in the African region.

WHO’s Regional Director, Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti made this known in her message to commemorate the International Nurses’ Day 2022 with the theme, Nurses: A Voice to Lead–Invest in Nursing and Respect Rights to Secure Global Health.

According to the Regional Director, the World is in need of 9 million nurses to address the shortage.

She noted that if the shortage was left unaddressed, it would be a threat to the progress toward Universal Health Coverage, UHC.

Dr Moeti Stressed that Nigeria had the highest share of the headcount of nurses at 21%, followed by South Africa with about 18%.

She explained that WHO had identified a threshold of about 60 nurses and midwives per 10,000 people as a critical point for attaining about 70% of the Universal Health service coverage index.

However, most countries have fewer than 20, with the number dropping way below even that for many across the continent, she noted.

Dr Moeti, therefore, called for increased investment in nurses and midwives which she described as a good value for money.

She said WHO in Africa is supporting Member States to strengthen nursing and midwifery through the implementation of the Global Strategic Directions for Nursing and Midwifery, SDNM, 2021-2025, and an inter-related set of policy priorities to guide the contributions of nurses and midwives to achieve Universal Health Coverage and other population health goals.

The WHO Regional Director for Africa appreciated and celebrate all nurses in the African Region, and thank them for their unwavering dedication in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.