Global nursing campaign launched by world leaders

Wednesday, 28 February, 2018

Global nursing campaign launched by world leaders

Nurses and other leaders across the world were joined by the Duchess of Cambridge in launching a global campaign aimed at raising the profile and status of nursing.

The campaign recognises that nurses are at the heart of countries’ efforts to provide health for all. As one of the most trusted professions, nurses provide effective and quality care for people of all ages and are central in addressing the increasing burden of noncommunicable diseases such as cancer and heart disease.

Speaking at the launch event at St Thomas’ Hospital, London, the Duchess joined the World Health Organization’s Chief Nursing Officer, the President of the International Council of Nurses, health leaders and nurses from countries around the world calling on governments, health professionals and service users to value nurses and champion their leadership in providing the best quality of care.

The three-year global campaign is being run as a program of the Burdett Trust for Nursing, in collaboration with the International Council of Nurses (ICN) and the World Health Organization (WHO). The London event was being linked up with a launch event in Geneva, Switzerland, hosted by the Hôpitaux Universitaires de Genève (the Geneva University Hospitals), in the presence of WHO DirectorGeneral Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and global nursing advocate Princess Muna Al-Hussein of Jordan and senior ICN executives and board. The campaign will also be launched in countries including South Africa, Uganda and the United States of America. Nurses are the lynchpin of health teams, playing a crucial role in health promotion; disease nurses and midwives represent nearly one-half of the total number of health workers around the world.

However, for all countries to reach Sustainable Development Goal 3 of health and wellbeing for all at all ages, WHO estimates that the world will need an additional 9 million nurses and midwives by 2030. These additional jobs represent a global opportunity for investment in health workers.

The job benefits will be particularly beneficial for women and young people as demonstrated by the report of the UN Secretary-General’s High Level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth.

Nursing Now Co-Chair Professor Sheila Tlou said: “The Nursing Now campaign is about supporting nurses to lead, to learn and to strengthen the profession. We will equip them through training, support and the development of political leadership skills to take their rightful place at the table when decisions are being taken about the future shape of health care in their countries.”

ICN President Annette Kennedy said: “The International Council of Nurses is proud to be part of Nursing Now. Through our 133 national nursing associations, we know of the great work nurses are doing to deliver care and improve health, but we also know how tough their working lives can be. Nurses are the answer but we need real investment and support.”

ICN has released a report and set of resources for nurses to use under the theme ‘Nurses: A Voice to Lead — Health is a Human Right’. This International Nurses Day report, being launched early, is one way in which ICN brings nursing solutions from around the world to the global policy table.

WHO Chief Nursing Officer Elizabeth Iro said: “Health workers are the DNA of health systems. They are a Ministry of Health’s biggest asset. Nurses and midwives represent the largest share of health workers and provide care for our families and our communities when we need them most.

WHO is delighted to collaborate on the campaign to support nurses and midwives around the world in assisting their countries to achieve Universal Health Coverage.”

Nursing Now was founded by nurses and other health experts based on the findings of the 2016 Triple Impact report produced by the UK’s All Party Parliamentary Group on Global Health Co-Chaired by Lord Nigel Crisp, who is also Co-Chair of the Nursing Now board.

The report concluded that strengthening nursing globally would have a triple impact of improving health, improving gender equality by empowering women and building stronger economies. Universal Health Coverage will not be achieved unless nursing is strengthened.

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