Nursing and Midwifery Forum

Under the 2019 themes, Nurses: a voice to lead, health for all and Midwives: defenders of women’s rights, the Nursing and Midwifery Forum took place on 5th of May at the Krishibid Institute Bangladesh, in Dhaka, to celebrate the contributions nurses and midwives make towards delivering quality, respectful and compassionate care to patients.

The event, organized by Directorate-General of Nursing and Midwifery and the Bangladesh Nursing and Midwifery Council, marked both the International Nurses Day, globally celebrated on the 12th of May and the International Day of the Midwife, which is celebrated yearly on May 5th.

Addressing to midwives and nurses during the event, Dr Bardan Rana Jung, WHO Representative to Bangladesh said “Nurses, you take care of persons from birth to death, during emergency situations to ongoing care. Your profession truly exemplifies the notion of ‘health for all, nobody left behind’. In Bangladesh we now have a post-graduate institution that offers higher degrees for Nursing. With the increased body of scientific knowledge and broadening scope of practice, nurses, I urge you to be innovative in approaches that consider holistic people centred model to provide health for all.

Midwives, you are well placed to provide continuity of care to women, newborns and their families at primary health care level and you are part of these communities. You are specialists that provide care close to where women and families live. Midwifery services are necessary in rural areas where there is scarcity of qualified health professional and in Bangladesh we should consider expansion of this cadre with an incentivised package for their services. Midwives, you are defenders of women’s rights, every day wherever they are.”

WHO Bangladesh

In Bangladesh, nursing has been recognized as a profession since the times of undivided India, being traditionally called “nurse midwife” which shows the long history of the profession in the country. Currently, over 56,000 nurses are registered with the Bangladesh Nursing and Midwifery Council and are deployed in upazila health complexes, district hospitals, medical college hospitals and specialty postgraduate institute and hospitals.

In 2010, 3000 midwifery posts were created and a three-year diploma course in Midwifery was introduced in 2013. Today over 2100 of qualified midwives, including certified and registered midwives, are serving the women of Bangladesh in upazila health complexes and union sub centres, and nearly 1000 are to be for deployment.

There is global attention on how nurses and midwives contribute in providing health for all as part of universal health coverage and the sustainable development goals. As such, the Executive Board at WHO has designated the year 2020 as the “Year of the Nurse and Midwife” in honour of the 200th birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing.

“Development of these two professions are vital to progress towards universal health coverage and nurses and midwives can significantly contribute to it by becoming more empowered and involved in primary care services. They must be the voice to lead the way, to continue to be patient advocates and defend women’s rights.” Dr. Rana added during his speech.

WHO remains committed in supporting the Government of Bangladesh for continuously strengthening nursing and midwifery professions by providing quality education for improvement of services.