Global initiative aims to raise profile and status of nursing.
London, England; Geneva, Switzerland; 27 February 2018—The Duchess of Cambridge has joined nurses and other health leaders across the world in launching a global campaign aimed at raising the profile and status of nursing. The campaign recognizes that nurses are at the heart of countries’ efforts to provide health for all. As one of the most trusted professions, nursing provides effective and quality care for people of all ages and is 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 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 Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, global nursing advocate Princess Muna Al-Hussein of Jordan, and senior ICN executives and board. The campaign has also been launched in other 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 prevention, treatment, and care. The WHO estimates that 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 well-being 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.
Sheila Tlou, Nursing Now co-chair, 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 healthcare in their countries.”
Annette Kennedy, president of the ICN, 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 ICN brings nursing solutions from around the world to the global policy table.
Elizabeth Iro, WHO’s chief nursing officer, 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.