World Health Day 2020

In 2020, World Health Day focuses on the vital role played by nurses and midwives in providing health care around the world and call for strengthening the nursing and midwifery workforce.

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Photo: World Health Organization, campaign materials

World Health Day is a global health awareness day celebrated every year on the 7th of April, under the sponsorship of the World Health Organization (WHO), and other related organizations. This year, the day is dedicated to celebrating the work of nurses and midwives and to highlight the critical role they play in the world. The appreciation for nurses and midwives is especially important today as they are at the forefront of the COVID-19 response.

In light of this year’s World Health Day theme, the Centre for Global Health would like to highlight and show appreciation for the PhD students from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Oslo (UiO). Throughout its PhD program, students from all over the world have come to participate in their journey of becoming doctors, including students already with nursing and midwifery training. UiO has supported midwives from many countries to pursue doctoral degrees in health and these midwives have later become key drivers of massive increases in midwifery education and the organizing of health services in key positions in their home countries. In countries that have shortages of doctors, they perform various, crucial tasks in medical care, including delivering babies, both normal and difficult births, providing ultrasound screening of pregnant women, providing contraceptives, giving post-abortion care, screening for women's cancers, providing sexual health education for youth, taking full responsibility for antenatal care, and performing newborn care, including resuscitation.

On this day, we take the opportunity to congratulate many of our graduates throughout the world including Belinda Gombachika and Mamady Cham, who have returned to UiO as PHD opponents, and Abdou Jammeh, Lucy Kululanga, Lily Kumbani, Jacqueline Nkhoma Chinkonde, Sahar Hassan, and Adress Malata, who have become UiO honorary doctors as the first African nurse, and the list could go on.

International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife

Along with World Health Day, in celebration and recognition of Florence Nightingale’s 200th birthday, WHO designated 2020 as the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife. World Health Day coincides with the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife and provides an opportunity to highlight the current status of this essential workforce globally, while also celebrating them as one of the most important resources of every country. In line with this, WHO and its partners will make recommendations in order to strengthen the workforce of nurses and midwives. Strengthening nursing and midwifery will have the additional benefits of promoting gender equity and contributing to economic development, while also supporting various Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), such as SDG 5 and SDG 8 (1). One of these recommendations includes the first ever State of the World’s Nursing Report 2020, which is being launched today in honor of World Health Day.

WHO says (1):

“The report will provide a global picture of the nursing workforce and support evidence-based planning to optimize the contributions of this workforce to improve health and wellbeing for all. The report will set the agenda for data collection, policy dialogue, research and advocacy, and investment in the health workforce for generations to come. A similar report on the Midwifery workforce will be launched in 2021.”

World’s Nursing Report 2020


In support of the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, we are calling for your support on World Health Day to ensure that the nursing and midwifery workforces are strong enough to ensure that quality health care is accessible for everyone, everywhere. Read more here on ways to get involved in the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife campaign!

The tagline for World Health Day is: Support nurses and midwives.



By Gabriella Rodriguez & Johanne Sundby
Published Apr. 7, 2020 9:47 AM - Last modified Mar. 30, 2021 1:58 PM