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Nursing Now campaign: empowering nurses to improve global health

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Nurse_holding_a_baby27 February 2018 – As part of efforts to improve global health, the World Health Organization (WHO) and International Council of Nurses are supporting the Nursing Now campaign – a 3-year global health initiative of the Burdett Trust for Nursing that will be launched in February 2018. The campaign, which continues until the end of 2020, aims to raise the status and profile of nursing to improve health and enable nurses to maximize their contribution to achieving universal health coverage.

The campaign will be launched on 27 February in Geneva, Switzerland, hosted by Hôpitaux Universitaires de Genève (Geneva University Hospitals), in the presence of WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and Her Royal Highness Princess Muna Al-Hussein of Jordan, Patron for Nursing and Midwifery in the Eastern Mediterranean Region. On the same day, the campaign will be launched at an event in London. 

The vital role of nurses in supporting the health sector and the importance of acknowledging their role is highlighted by HRH Muna Al-Hussain, “It's time to give nurses greater recognition, investment and influence. “We must capitalize on one of our best assets, the largest group of health care professionals, by equipping nurses to provide high quality patient-centred care and play an integral role in leading change in the health sector.” 

While globalization and technological advances are creating new opportunities, disease and sociodemographic changes, in addition to natural and manmade disasters, are placing increased pressure on already strained health care systems. Chief among these is the additional burden placed on health care personnel as a result of dealing with the consequences of war, emergencies and an increasing number of refugees and displaced populations in the Eastern Mediterranean Region. 

“Nurses and midwives are unsung heroes in responding to the health needs of communities affected by emergencies in our Region. Empowering nurses and enhancing their capacities will save lives and improve health and well-being at all times,” said Dr Jaouad Mahjour, acting WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean.

The Nursing Now campaign recognizes that nurses are at the heart of country efforts to improve 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. Nurses are indispensable members of health teams and as health professionals closest to the public play a crucial role in health promotion, disease prevention, treatment and care. WHO estimates that nurses and midwives represent nearly one half of the global health workforce. However, for all countries to reach health-related Sustainable Development Goal 3 “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages” WHO estimates that the world will need an additional 9 million nurses and midwives by 2030. 

The campaign aims to ensure that by the end of 2020 the health workforce generally, and nursing and midwifery in particular, have a far more prominent role in global health policy development and planning. It also aims to promote greater investment in developing nursing and midwifery education, practice and regulation, as well as improving standards and quality of care, and employment conditions. More nurses are needed in leadership and policy development, particularly in delivering universal health coverage and addressing current and emerging health problems. Another important aim of the campaign is ensuring evidence is made more readily available to policy- and decision-makers on the impact of nursing, and ensuring greater dissemination and sharing of good practices in nursing and the ways in which these good practices can be emulated.

There will be a live stream of the launch of the campaign at the events in Geneva and London.

Related links

Live webcast

Nursing and midwifery factsheet

Nursing now campaign website

International Council of Nurses