Nurses delivering universal health care
Statement on the occasion on International Nurses Day, 2012
“I am here to restore health, prevent illness and alleviate suffering"says Nurse Leochrist.
Nurse Leochrist, from Tavet District in Kenya demonstrates great leadership and drive to improve the health of Kenya's remote populations. At the Taveta District Hospital, she has been able to scale up natal care, family planning and immunization. She liaises with donors to distribute treated mosquito nets to pregnant women and children under the age of five years and works closely with community midwives to improve deliveries. Thanks to Nurse Leochrist’s activities, community health in Taveta district has greatly improved in an effort to attain the Millennium Development Goals. Nurse Leochrist was one of the health workers nominated for the Global Health Workforce Alliance ‘Special recognition Awards’ at the Second Global Forum on Human Resources for Health, in Bangkok, 2011.
On the occasion of International Nurses Day, the Global Health Workforce Alliance (The Alliance) stresses the importance of nurses in the delivery of health care services and applauds their contributions to the success of public health worldwide.
“Nurses are fast becoming the first and primary point of contact for health services, providing innovative solutions and expertise across the health system", said Alliance Executive Director, Dr Mubashar Sheikh. "In light of current global health challenges, governments must now, more than ever, focus on the specific steps needed to strengthen nursing services, paying attention to training, recruitment and retention policies. Millions more existing nurses could save many more lives if they had proper training and support”, he added.
Nursing, like almost all health professions, is facing critical shortages in personnel. The World Health Organization estimates a shortage of at least 2.5 million health workers, including nurses, particularly in Africa and parts of Asia. The international migration of nurses is one critical factor affecting both North and South alike. Nurses migrate to seek better wages and working conditions than they have in their native countries. Given the current conditions, developed countries continue to actively recruit foreign nurses to fill critical shortages. This imbalance has had a serious negative impact on the productivity and performance of health facilities, and ultimately on patient outcomes.
Leadership is fundamental to addressing the global health workforce crisis. The Alliance is proud to be associated with the International Council of Nurses (ICN), an important member of the Alliance, promoting the cause of nurses worldwide.
“We are proud to support nurses” said Dr Tesfamicael Ghebrehiwet of the ICN. “They make a real difference in the lives of their patients and in the communities they work, and are vital in the current efforts to address global health challenges such as non-communicable diseases, complex communicable and emerging diseases and ageing populations”.
The Global Health Workforce Alliance takes this opportunity to thank the nursing community for their contribution in delivering health care and wishes all nurses across the globe a happy International Nurses Day!