The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on health, life, and livelihoods in the Region of the Americas, causing a social and economic crisis marked by massive unemployment, impoverishment, and worsening inequalities in long time. The pandemic has also revealed a chronic underinvestment in human resources for health and the lack of systems containing information on the deployment, composition and attributes of interprofessional health teams. As health systems have developed, countries have struggled to hire, deploy, protect and retain health workers, including psychosocial support for frontline workers
In 2021, the WHO adopted the document Global Strategic Directions on Nursing and Midwifery 2021-2025, covering four key policy areas: education, employment, leadership and service delivery. Its recommendations include: 1) training enough competent midwives and nurses to meet the health needs of the population; 2) create jobs, manage migration, and recruit and retain midwives and nurses where they are most needed; 3) strengthen nursing and midwifery leadership in health and academic systems; and ensure that such personnel are supported, respected, protected, motivated and equipped to safely and optimally contribute to their service delivery parameters.
In the Region of the Americas, nurses and midwives play a critical role in achieving health outcomes through their experience, size of workforce and proximity to remote areas and among vulnerable populations and minority groups . However, challenges persist, such as scarcity (especially in remote areas), constant and increasing migration, unsafe and indecent working conditions, uncompetitive wages, and lack of professional compliance or regulation.