“We need to get our voices heard. We need to roar!” Elizabeth Iro, WHO Chief Nursing Officer,

28 June 2019


International Council of Nurses’ Congress kicks off in Singapore


Singapore; Geneva, Switzerland, 28 June 2019 –The International Council of Nurses Congress began today in Singapore with a keynote address by WHO Chief Nursing Officer Elizabeth Iro greetings from , who urged nurse to have their voices heard, “Take your chair to the table. Be a part of decision-making within your country.” Over 5000 nurses from more than 120 countries are in Singapore to attend the ICN Congress which will be held until 1 July.

ICN has being working closely with Ms Iro across a wide range global and WHO health priorities to ensure that nursing inform and influences the work of WHO.

Person-centred health care was the topic of the main session by Professor Chien Earn Lee, the CEO of Changi General Hospital, Singapore, who spoke about Singapore’s person-centric healthcare ecosystem model of health care and how it was improving the health of the local population by expanding screening beyond chronic diseases to falls, frailty and functional screening to identify elderly at risk and integrating preventive with primary care to ensure timely intervention and follow-up. Dr Lee also described Singapore’s communities of care where integrated community care teams led by community nurses bridge health and social care to provide holistic care for residents in their respective zones.

Moving from the national to the global, WHO economist Jeremy Lauer spoke about investment in health in the global arena. Noting that the contribution of the nursing workforce to health, as well as to broader social and economic benefits, has usually been under-recognised Dr Lauer emphasized that education needs to be reformed in order to meet the challenges of the future of work, as well as delivering on Sustainable Development Goal targets for gender equality, inclusive economic growth, and improved health outcomes.

Professor Sheila Tlou and Lord Nigel Crisp, co-chairs of Nursing Now, challenged health employers around the world to take up the Nightingale Challenge, which aims to equip and empower the next generation of nurses and midwives as leaders, practitioners and advocates in health.

Looking at more specific areas of concern in health care, the afternoon speakers concentrated on disaster preparation, non-communicable diseases (NCDs), and smoking cessation strategies. Professor Kristine Gebbie, from Flinders University in Australia, described the important work being carried out by ICN to review the current nursing competencies in disaster to develop a pathway to excellent performance.

Christine Hancock, former ICN President and Royal College of Nursing General Secretary who is now the director of C3 Collaborating for Health, highlighted the opportunities for the world’s nurses to to lead the fight against NCDs and make a great difference to the burden of disease and premature death. “Nurses with the right knowledge and confidence will be able to make significant impact on this serious epidemic, she said.

Addressing one particular cause of NCDs, tobacco, Dr Sophia Chan, Hong Kong’s Secretary for Food and Health, demonstrated the success of the programme carried out in Hong Kong to contain the proliferation of tobacco use and minimise the impact of passive smoking on the public. She spoke about the initiatives on anti-smoking and prevention and control of NCDs in the country.

Throughout the day delegates were also able to take part in a large scientific programme of concurrent sessions, where evidence-based nursing research was presented and shared.

Policy and Advocacy Cafés provided participants with an opportunity to have face to face time with speakers in order to exchange ideas and gain a better understanding of their innovative work.

Plenary and main sessions are being live-streamed to YouTube, with over 2,500 views of the opening ceremony!

For details of the Congress programme go to: Download the Congress app free of charge from the App Store for iPhones and from the Play Store for Android phones. After opening one of these stores, type “K.I.T. Group” in the search toolbar.


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