Nursing and midwifery workforce and universal health coverage Background paper WHO Global Forum for Government Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officers

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As the deadline for achieving the Millennium Development Goals approaches, the concept of universal health coverage is increasingly becoming a rallying point for post-2015 Millennium Development Goals. The purpose of this paper is to stimulate discussion at the 2014 Global Forum for Government Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officers, on the role of nurses and midwives in carrying forward the universal health coverage (UHC) agenda. The paper takes into account the three thematic areas of the Global Forum which include:  Leadership and policy direction for universal health coverage (UHC)  Quantity, quality and relevance of the nursing and midwifery workforce  Collaborative partnerships Nurses and midwives are frontline workers in the health service delivery system and are therefore critical in working towards and achieving Universal Health Coverage. This background literature demonstrates where nurses and midwives have played a role, in terms of leadership and improving the quantity, quality and relevance of midwifery and nursing workforce, towards universal health coverage. The paper also clarifies the concept of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in order to establish a common understanding among the participants to this Global Forum. Examples advanced in this paper provide a starting point for discussion on the way forward with regards to nursing and midwifery and the contributions that nursing and midwifery national leadership could make towards universal health coverage.
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