The leader of Sudan’s nurses calls on colleagues around the world to back calls for ceasefire amid devastation in his war-torn country

25 May 2023
PR 14

The International Council of Nurses (ICN) has published a letter from the President of the Sudan Nurses Organisation Mowafag Hassan Hashim, addressing the nurses of the world and asking them for their support.

The letter was shared by ICN Chief Executive Officer Howard Catton at a meeting for all the nurses who are attending the 76th World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva, Switzerland, on 24 May 2023.

Mr Catton said, “Sudan is the latest in a long list of countries, including Syria, Myanmar, and Ukraine, where tragically, because of conflict, nurses are putting themselves at huge personal risk, working in unimaginably hostile conditions. The letter from our colleague Mowafag bears testimony to these unacceptable circumstances and ICN through its interventions at the WHA this week has once again delivered the message that peace and health are intrinsically linked, and our sustainable future depends on prioritising both.”

The letter from Mr Mowafag Hassan Hashim reads as follows:

To nurses, nurse delegation and nurse associations participating at WHA76

“Dear nurses from all over the world who participate in WHA 76, I send this message from Sudan where your colleague Sudanese nurses working in tough situation to save people’s lives, after eruption of conflict between Rapid Support Army and Military Armed Forces which led to over 900 deaths among civilians and over 4,000 injured persons, attack of hospitals, kidnap and killing of nurses and medical personnel, lack of medical supplies and treatment of chronic diseases, violation of IHL with limited humanitarian passages.

Under all these circumstances in Sudan, nurses are still working to save people’s lives, this situation reminds us how our great model and founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale, who we celebrate on International Nurses Day annually in recognising of her achievement and sacrifices to let us as nurses be proud of her achievement.

‘I took this opportunity to highlight for you the courage and effort which Sudanese nurses doing now, also I would like to thank ICN for their support and solidarity they do for Sudanese nurses and to all over 130 nurses association ICN represents.

‘Lastly, I invite all of you to sign our petition to UN Security Council and share with colleagues at your country to do the same and again I call international community to support cease of fire in Sudan.”

Speaking after the meeting Mr Catton said: “It is devastating to hear at first hand of the terrible hardship that the people of Sudan, and especially its nurses are suffering at this time. There can never be any justification for targeting nurses and other health and humanitarian staff as they go about their duty to provide care to the sick and injured.

‘ICN joins with our partners from Sudan in urging nurses to sign the petition and encourage their colleagues to do the same, to bring pressure to bear on the opposing forces that are making the lives of the citizens of Sudan a misery, and their country a dangerous place to be.”

Download the press release here