ICN welcomes new agreement between WHO and World Health Professions Alliance

8 November 2022

Today ICN President, Dr Pamela Cipriano, and ICN CEO, Howard Catton, joined Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization and the leaders of the World Health Professions Alliance (WHPA) for an historic signing ceremony at WHO headquarters in Geneva.

WHO and the five health care professional associations signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to enhance collaboration and protect and invest in the health workforce in order to provide safe, quality and equitable health care for populations around the world.

Emphasizing the important role of the health professions, Dr Tedros said:

“There is no health without health workers. With this MoU, WHPA and WHO will assist health care professional associations and governments in protecting, safeguarding and investing in the multi-disciplinary teams of health workers needed to deliver essential health services and prevent and respond to emergencies.”

Dr Cipriano added:

“The WHPA has been working together since 1999 to ensure collaboration between the health professions, and ICN is proud to be a founding member of this important alliance. Today’s signing with WHO is not only a recognition that there can be no health without health workers, but it also underlines the close ties between WHO and the five health professional associations.

‘With this new MOU, WHPA and WHO have formally joined forces to support the health professions around the world as they strive to prevent illness, promote health, and care for the sick, injured and vulnerable across the globe. The effects of the pandemic have shown us we must protect and invest in the health workforce and establish a ‘new normal’ where all health workers are valued and have the resources to provide compassionate care to patients. Today’s MOU is a step toward this recognition which is invaluable to both health workers and patients alike. It is also a step forward for the health professions collectively to make greater progress towards universal health coverage and strengthen health systems and services.

‘ICN is fortunate to have enjoyed special relations with WHO since its founding in 1948 and we are grateful to Dr Tedros for strengthening this bond since he was first elected to the post of DG in 2017. As the global voice of nursing, ICN looks forward to continuing to collaborate with WHO and WHPA to realise our common goals.”

The World Health Professions Alliance brings together the global organisations representing the world’s nurses, dentists, pharmacists, physical therapists and physicians and speaks for more than 41 million health care professionals in more than 130 countries. The WHPA works to improve global health and the quality of patient care and facilitates collaboration among the health professions and major stakeholders.

Established in 1999, the WHPA partners include the International Council of Nurses (ICN), the World Medical Association (WMA), the World Dental Federation (FDI), the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) and World Physiotherapy.

Download the press release here