International Council of Nurses welcomes new members to strengthen united voice of nursing

2 September 2020

Two new member associations have joined the International Council of Nurses (ICN), a federation of over 130 national nursing associations across the world. With the addition of the Somaliland Nursing and Midwifery Association and the South Sudan Nurses and Midwives Association, ICN strengthens the global voice of nursing.

Welcoming the new members to ICN’s family, ICN President Annette Kennedy said, “We are delighted to have two new members from Africa join ICN, especially while the world is battling the COVID-19 pandemic. With nurses working at the frontlines of disease, disaster, conflict, and everyday care, it is increasingly important for us to stand together in solidarity with nurses around the world to be heard and have impact.”

Mr Repent Khamis George, President of the South Sudan Nurses and Midwives Association said, “This is the most exciting news of the year for us. As we celebrate the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, there is nothing bigger than the admittance to the membership of ICN. We know that nurses all over the world have been working around the clock saving people’s lives, this has put a lot of stress on them, but with this announcement, it has given us more reason to celebrate than being stressed and depressed.

‘To us, as an association, it is a big turn and we will use it for advocacy in a bigger way. Now we can proudly feel that we are members of the international nursing community. For the nurses, it will lift the profile of the nursing profession in the country and we are so happy that this will provide us an opportunity to participate fully in the activities of ICN.”

Dr. Fouzia M. Ismail, General Secretary of the Somaliland Nursing and Midwifery Association, expressed her appreciation of joining ICN, highlighting how the organisation is able to have an impact at the highest international level whilst supporting its associations locally.

“ICN works to ensure quality nursing care for all and sound health policies across the world. To be part of ICN, will enable us to stay up to date with nursing specialties, current practices, ethics and public policy and to be part of an organisation able to deliver for nurses globally.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated like never before the value of nursing, and the importance of working together globally in a systematic and strategic way through ICN.

ICN CEO Howard Catton said, “COVID-19 has shown vividly ICN’s unique role in providing a platform for nurses across the world to raise their concerns and importantly drive positive action from governments and other stakeholders, many of whom have fallen well short through the on-going crisis. Never in the organisation’s 120-year history has it borne a greater responsibility to its members or been more relevant.

‘We are confident that Somaliland and South Sudan nurses and midwives standing in solidarity with their sisters and brothers across the world will make an invaluable contribution. All our associations are facing unprecedented challenges during the pandemic and they recognise the power and strength of unity and mutuality. In short you receive as much as you give and that is why we welcome their unwavering commitment.”

ICN has provided its members with the tools to lobby their governments for adequate protection, training and compensation, and written directly to heads of state and the G20 to demand nurses and other healthcare workers are prioritized for adequate personal protective equipment and, eventually, a vaccine.

By joining ICN - the world’s first and widest reaching international organisation for health professionals - the Somaliland Nursing and Midwifery Association and the South Sudan Nurses and Midwives Association have enabled the nurses of their countries to have a stronger voice in health priorities and policy development, not only at home but internationally too.

Download the press release here.