ICN at the World Health Assembly

23 May 2023
WS 25

The International Council of Nurses (ICN) has a delegation of nurses at the 76th World Health Assembly in Geneva, the World health Organization’s governing body, with six delegates attending in person, and around 80 following the proceedings online as virtual delegates.

ICN hosted it’s Delegate Welcome Meeting yesterday at which ICN President Dr. Pamela Cipriano gave opening remarks; ICN Nurse Consultant Erica Burton presented the Delegate Pack and provided important information for delegates to support their participation on the virtual delegation; ICN Policy Advisor Hoi Shan Fokeladeh gave an overview of ICN statements & procedures for delivering statements; and ICN CEO Catton described important events and meetings taking place this week as well as important tips to get the most out of the WHA experience.


Committee A discussed 12. Women, Children’s, and Adolescents’ Health (2016-2030). At the close of the Committee for the day, the agenda item was suspended and will be reopened for discussion at a later date in the Assembly.


Strategic Roundtable: Strengthening pandemic prevention, preparedness and response

Erica Burton attended the lunchtime roundtable at which participants discussed pandemic prevention, preparedness and response by focusing on closing gaps in services and building on lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and other disease outbreaks. The discussion brought together three key processes which are expected to be completed by the next WHA meeting in May 2024. They are:

  • The Intergovernmental Negotiating Body which is drafting a WHO ‘treaty’ on pandemic preparedness and response.
  • The working group that is amending WHO’s International Health Regulations.
  • The high-level meeting on Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response of the United Nations General Assembly, which is taking place in New York in September this year.

The co-chairs and co-facilitators of the three processes discussed on-going work and how their objectives fit with each other. They reflected on how the three processes complement each other, and the potential impact they will have for individuals, countries and the world as a whole. Video-on-Demand to watch the session can be accessed here.

Side Event: Enabling future innovation to achieve UHC and better pandemic preparedness

In the evening, Dr Pamela Cipriano attended this side event put on by IFPMA which aimed to explore the essential components required to achieve innovation that can facilitate UHC and robust pandemic preparedness. The discussion encompassed enablers across regulatory frameworks, policy, financing, and community partnerships. By identifying these, we can work towards making health progress accessible to all and contribute to a healthier and more equitable world.

Side Event: Invest In and Engage People Living With Noncommunicable Diseases: Next Steps to Realise Universal Health Coverage

In the evening, Howard Catton attended this side event hosted by the NCD Alliance which explored global progress on the inclusion of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) in UHC, highlighted the benefits of investing in NCDs at the national level, and emphasized the importance of involving civil society organizations and people living with NCDs in UHC governance and decision-making roles.

Side Event: Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) - an essential component of Universal Health Coverage

In the evening, Erica Burton attended this side event co-hosted by Women in Global Health, the Government of Argentina, Malawi and Sweden and the Alliance for Gender Equality and Universal Health Coverage (UHC). This event highlighted the importance of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) in achieving Universal Health Coverage and Sustainable Development Goal commitments. Member States and Civil Society at this side event shared best practices for policy and funding to ensure that SRHR and services are a recognized, protected, and essential part of health systems.

Meeting with representatives of National Nurses Associations

ICN President Dr Pamela Cipriano and Chief Executive Howard Catton have used the WHA as an opportunity to meet, brief and discuss with representatives of our National Nurses Associations (NNAs) who are in Geneva for the WHA. They met with President Patsy Edwards Henry and 1st Vice president Karen Wright from the Nurses Association of Jamaica, and with delegates from the Taiwanese Nurses Association (TWNA), including TWNA President Dr. Ching Min Chen, Dr. Tsay Shwu-Feng, Director-General, Department of Nursing and Health Care, Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW), and Ms. Lee, Ya-Lin, Specialist, Department of Nursing and Health Care, MOHW

Download the communique here