WHO and ICN – committed to Nursing the World to Health

12 May 2020

In a wide ranging conversation between the President of the International Council of Nurses (ICN) Annette Kennedy and the Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the two leaders shared vision for healthcare for all and addressed a range of global issues including the urgent need for investment in nursing and nursing leadership.

Speaking via video conference on the occasion of the International Nurses Day, Dr Tedros thanked Ms Kennedy for the support ICN has given WHO during the COVID-19 pandemic. He expressed his sincere gratitude for the efforts of nurses across the world in the battle against the virus.

Dr Tedros said:

“On behalf of all my WHO colleagues, I would like to say thank you to the world’s nurses for their commitment.

‘Every year, nurses provide care and treatment in every part of the world, and this year they face an incredibly demanding situation as they help to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. International Nurses Day is a time to recognise all that nurses contribute each and every day.”

Ms Kennedy spoke of her pride in nursing at a time when nurses are playing a pivotal role in treating patents and stopping the spread of COVID-19.

“As our theme for International Nurses Day states, nurses are nursing the world to health. We will nurse the world to health, and we will be instrumental in nursing people to health in COVID-19. If nurses can show anything, it is the solidarity of the nursing family, that’s what I’ve seen in the last few months. That, and the co-operation and the sharing of information, and I am so proud to be a nurse at this time.”

Dr Tedros said ICN’s Nursing the World to Health document, published for International Nurses Day 2020, provides ample evidence for the importance of investment in nursing.

And he said he would like the State of the World’s Nursing report, which was co-chaired by ICN Chief Executive Office Howard Catton, to become an annual report.

“The report is the first document to provide a snapshot of the global nursing workforce. It highlights the scale of the challenge we face: and a shortfall of six million nurses is a problem we have to solve. It also provides a road map for governments to invest in nursing, to fill that gap and progress towards universal health coverage.

‘I am glad that WHO and ICN are pathfinders in starting this report, which will help the world in addressing the challenges, but at the same time, using to the maximum the potential that nurses have for our health systems.

‘During the COVID-19 pandemic, I think the world has understood the value of our nurses and other health workers, and why we should really take bold measures to have strong health systems in each and every country.”