Nurses play key role in Heath for All: everyone, everywhere

9 April 2019

World Health Day 2019

Geneva, Switzerland; 8 April 2018 - On the occasion of World Health Day 2019 which focuses on the theme “Heath for All: everyone, everywhere”, the International Council of Nurses (ICN) is promoting its International Nurses Day resources under the theme Nurses: A Voice to Lead Health for All.

IND 2019

“As the largest health profession across the world, working in all areas where health care is provided, nursing has vast potential and value if appropriately harnessed to finally achieve the vision of Health for All,” said ICN CEO, Howard Catton.  “Health for all should not just be a vision but a reality; yet half the world’s population lack access to fundamental healthcare.  ICN advocates for health as a right for people, as a foundation of social justice and as driver of economic growth. We need investment in nurses, who are critical to making this a reality.”


ICN supports the World Health Organization’s call to health workers:

  • You are the voice for your patients. Unite with your peers and let local leaders know that you support health for all. 
  • Health workers have the power to change people’s lives with quality health advice and care. Let’s make sure everyone can access the skills and expertise of health workers like you.
  • Empower your patients to take care of their own health. You play a vital role in learning about their needs and teaching them what they can do to get and stay healthy.


ICN also calls on nurses to sign the World Health Day petition, adding their voices to those calling to ensure that everyone, everywhere, can get the health services they need – when and where they need them. In September 2019, world leaders will come together at the United Nations General Assembly for a high-level meeting on universal health coverage. They will agree on a political declaration to secure commitment worldwide to making universal health coverage a reality. WHO is calling on everyone to help build momentum towards the high-level meeting by signing the petition.


On 3 April 2019 ICN President, Annette Kennedy, and ICN CEO, Howard Catton met with Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, who reiterated his support for the nursing workforce, saying: "Nurses and midwives are the backbone of every health system. They account for more than half of the global health workforce and are vital for realizing the vision of universal health coverage.  But to achieve UHC and the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, the world will need 9 million more nurses and midwives. WHO is proud to support ICN and the Nursing Now campaign to ensure we fill this critical gap.”




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