The Pan American health Organisation (PAHO) has called on Caribbean governments to invest in nurses to improve their availability, distribution and roles.
The global body, in launching the “Strategic Directions for Nursing in the Region of the Americas,” noted that nursing staff represent the largest health workforce, accounting for more than 50 per cent of health workers.
“Despite this, however, the lack of nurses in most countries in the Region compromises the global goal of achieving health for all by 2030,” PAHO said.
PAHO director, Dr Carissa F Etienne, underscored that “in many parts of the world, nursing professionals are the first, and sometimes only, human resource in contact with patients.”
She added that “investing in nursing enables advancing towards access and universal health coverage, which will have a profound effect on global health and well-being.”
The report on strategic direction describes the current situation regarding nursing in the region.
It highlights that there is an important gap in the availability of and access to human resources for health, “of which nurses are an important part”.
The report added that there is also a current deficit of 800,000 health workers in the region, including nursing staff.
The report says mobility and migration, poor distribution, lack of regulation, insufficient incentives and professional advancement, lack of higher education and inadequate working environments “all increase the problems related to human resources for health all over the world”.
PAHO said the report, which was presented in the framework of the International Day of Nursing, is “the product of an extensive consultation process and evidence analysis.”
The report also addresses issues such as leadership, working conditions and the capacities, educative and distribution of personnel.