ICN says WHO’s World Health Day theme of the right of everyone to have access to quality health services requires substantial investment

5 April 2024
PR 13

The International Council of Nurses (ICN) has welcomed the World Health Organization’s World Health Day theme My Health, My Right, ahead of World Health Day, Sunday, 7 April.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says at least 140 countries recognize health as a human right in their constitutions, but more than 4.5 billion people were not fully covered by essential health services in 2021, a situation since made worse by the effects of the global pandemic.

ICN President Dr Pamela Cipriano who is part of the UHC2030 (Universal Health Coverage--UHC) Taskforce said: “ICN supports the work of WHO and the campaign to achieve UHC. Unfortunately, collectively the member states of WHO have not invested sufficiently to bring about the changes that are so desperately needed to make UHC a reality.

‘Nurses hold the key to many of the health care burdens that are affecting communities around the world. They keep people healthy, support them to recover from health conditions and live full and independent lives, but nurses’ commitment and professionalism are being undermined by lack of investment and the current nursing shortages which ICN estimates to be at least 13 million. Without substantial investment from governments, the ambition of UHC will never be met but with the right political will it is possible, and the call for this year’s World Health Day – the right of everyone to have access to quality health services – can become a reality.

Clearly without a strong and well-funded nursing workforce access to quality health services is limited. As our partner project with BBC StoryWorks, Caring with Courage, demonstrated, nurses play a key and fundamental role around the world in being the providers and conduits of health care. Without nurses, health as a human right is merely a pipe dream.”