World Humanitarian Day

World Humanitarian Day August 19

The International Council of Nurses (ICN) is marking United Nations (UN) World Humanitarian Day today by highlighting the work of nurses who are undertaking lifesaving roles in crisis-torn areas around the world.

As the largest health profession, the majority of whom are women, nurses are present wherever there is a need for healthcare in times of distress, whatever its causes.

This year, the UN is focusing on women humanitarians and their ‘undying contribution in making the world a better place’.

So, it is appropriate that we commemorate the contribution that nurses make to the health and wellbeing of people living in some of the most difficult and dangerous conditions on the planet.

ICN chief executive officer Howard Catton said:

‘Humanitarian workers, women and men, step outside of their comfort zones, often leaving their families and crossing continents, to help others in crisis-torn areas. They make sacrifices to do jobs most of us would shy away from, in situations that many of us would not survive in.

‘We know that they are often vulnerable, and that shockingly, some have been attacked, injured and even killed in the line of duty.
‘Here at ICN we would like to acknowledge all the nurses who have died while carrying out humanitarian work.

‘The first death of a nurse from Ebola happened some years ago, and in recent weeks we learned that yet another nurse was among the 128 health workers who have succumbed to the infection while fighting the latest outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

‘Some of these nurses were known personally to us at ICN, and all of them are missed and remembered by their colleagues and families, not just today, but every day.

‘In a sense the work that nurses do means that all nurses are humanitarians. But it is right today to single out and pay tribute to those who have put their lives on hold to help others wherever help is needed.

‘So, to all nurses and other health professionals working in war zones, refugee camps, sites of natural disasters and disease outbreaks, ICN salutes you, and honours the important sacrifices you make daily for the good of others.’