International Council of Nurses discusses future of nursing with President of Panama, Laurentino Cortizo

Province de Cocle, Panama; Geneva, Switzerland; 28 August 2019 – The International Council of Nurses (ICN)’s Chief Executive Officer, Howard Catton, joined a delegation from the Asociación Nacional de Enfermeras de Panamá (ANEP) in a 90-minute breakfast talk with newly elected President of Panama, Laurentino Cortizo on 27 August 2019.

ICN Chief Executive Officer Howard Catton, who is speaking at ANEP’s upcoming two-day National and International Congress, was invited to the meeting to inform President Cortizo about ICN’s global work and how it is supporting ANEP and other national nursing associations around the world.


Howard Catton said: ‘It was a very productive meeting and President Cortizo was genuinely interested to hear how ICN is helping countries with limited resources to find solutions that work and are cost effective.

‘We discussed a number of key issues, including improving access to healthcare, staff shortages and staffing levels, and the importance of nursing leadership, salaries and working conditions.

‘He has asked us to send his ministerial team information about our work to inform them about what is happening in nursing around the globe.

‘ANEP President Ana Reyes de Serrano and her strong team used the time productively to engage the President and make the sorts of connections that are so vital if nurses are to have a greater influence in health policy at the highest possible level.’

Following the meeting, President Cortizo (@NitoCortizo) tweeted his support saying: “The backbone of the health system is our nurses. Today I received @Anep_pty with Howard Catton, Director of the International Council of Nurses. Together we will join forces to have better nursing services, providing the sector with the necessary resources.”

Mr Catton (@HowardCatton) replied, “Thank you Mr. President for your time and dedication to nursing in Panama and for the commitment to better health. Political leadership from the highest level is crucial to improving everyone's health. Thank you for your leadership. “

Mr Catton also met with a group of Panama’s nursing students.


‘Students are our future and this group were committed and knowledgeable on a huge range of issues that will affect them in their practice. The future of nursing in Panama looks bright in the hands of these young enthusiastic professionals in the making.’

The main themes of the ANEP Congress are sustainable development, governance and advanced practice, and the nurse’s role in leading healthcare as a human right. Mr Catton will be speaking about the global health agenda and nursing leadership. More on the ANEP Congress can be found here:


Note for Editors

The International Council of Nurses (ICN) is a federation of more than 130 national nurses’ associations representing the millions of nurses worldwide. Operated by nurses and leading nursing internationally, ICN works to ensure quality care for all and sound health policies globally.

For further information please contact

Gyorgy Madarasz, Press Officer, International Council of Nurses, Tel: +41 22 908 01 16