Riccardo Fraccari has thanked health workers to mark World Health Day ©Getty Images

World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) President Riccardo Fraccari expressed his gratitude for nurses and midwives around the world as part of World Health Day.

Both nurses and midwives were chosen for focus this year by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Fraccari also praised the work of staff working hard and risking their lives in the fight for the prevention of the spread of COVID-19 during the ongoing pandemic.

He said: "We are greatly indebted to the public health officials, staff and many volunteers who are contending with the coronavirus on a daily basis.

"They are the true champions in this global battle, which requires a team effort from us all, however, the role of the frontline staff is the most crucial.

"The WBSC stands in solidarity with Governments and public health organisations around the world who are working tirelessly to contain the spread of COVID-19. 

"The coronavirus has created a situation where we are living through uncertain and unprecedented times and in support of all the health workers around the world, we must heed their advice and #StayStrong, #StayActive, #StayHealthy and #StayHome.

"We continue to remind our global baseball-softball family to follow the guidelines set out by their respective Governments, public health authorities and WHO on the appropriate protective measures to take."

Baseball and softball are due to return to the Olympic stage at Tokyo 2020, which will now take place next year because of COVID-19.

Both sports were axed from the programme following Beijing 2008.

The WHO chose to focus on nurses and midwives partly due to their important role during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has over 1.53 million confirmed cases worldwide and has caused the death of more than 89,600 people.