Nurses: A Voice to Lead Health for All

International Nurses Day 2019 was celebrated with the theme, Nurses: A Voice to Lead Health for All. Nurses all over the world provide Health for All in the most challenging circumstances with limited resources to deliver health care to those most in need. Accounting for more than half of the global health workforce nurses are vital for realizing universal health coverage, but to do so the world will need 9 million more nurses and midwives. IND 2019 provided three important messages for nurse and policy makers: (1) Nurses save lives and improve, protect and promote health and well-being; (2) Nurses are a vital access point to 24/7, birth to death, emergency and ongoing care; and (3) Nurses are the foundation to high quality, affordable, accessible care.

27th ICN Congress, Singapore 2019

ICN’s 27th Congress took place from 27 June to 1 July 2019 in the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, Singapore. The theme: Beyond Healthcare to Health. The Congress was hosted by the Singaporean Nurses Association. This international gathering of thousands of nurses explored the many ways in which nurses’ work to achieve universal access to health, not only by providing health care but also addressing the social determinants of health, such as education, gender equality, and poverty amongst others. The Congress provided opportunities for nurses to build relationships and to disseminate nursing and health related knowledge.

Plenary speakers included: Singapore’s President Madam Halimah Yacob WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus Elizabeth Iro, WHO Chief Nursing Officer; former Prime Minister of Republic of Korea, Kim Hwang-sik; Professor Linda Aiken and Professor Matthew McHugh from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing; Cindy McCain, American businesswoman, philanthropist, educator and humanitarian; and Kevin Hyland, OBE, member of the Council of Europe Independent Group of Experts for Trafficking and former Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner for the UK.

Universal Health Coverage

ICN represented the voices of the world’s 20-plus million nurses at the UN’s first ever High-level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage in New York in September 2019. During the meeting Heads of State and Government adopted a political declaration, ‘Universal Health Coverage: moving together to build a healthier world’, in which they reaffirmed their commitment to Health for All and to scaling up the global effort to achieve it. The declaration recognised that primary health care (PHC) is the most inclusive, effective and efficient approach to safeguarding people’s physical and mental health and social wellbeing. PHC is the cornerstone of a sustainable health system for UHC and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Disaster Nursing Competencies

ICN issued a newly updated guidance on how nurses should respond if they find themselves in a disaster situation. The new version of the Core Competencies in Disaster Nursing report outlined what nurses should know and be able to do for the effective prevention, preparedness, response and recovery from disasters. Since 2010, more than 2.6 billion people have been affected by natural phenomena such as earthquakes, tsunamis, cyclones, heat waves, floods or other extreme events. These often lead to mass casualties with the potential to overwhelm local medical resources and have lasting effects on the health system.

ICN worked with other global organisations to develop the Core Competencies for Disaster Nursing with the aim of improving disaster prevention, preparedness, response and recovery. The guidance described the competencies that nurses must have, depending on their personal career histories and expertise.

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Primary Health Care On The Road To Universal Health Coverage – 2019 Monitoring Report


ICN President, Annette Kennedy, with Dr Tedros, Director General of the WHO, at the ICN Congress in Singapore.


Core Competencies in Disaster Nursing Version 2.0


2020: International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife

Let’s Celebrate 2020!

The World Health Organization has designated 2020 as the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife in honour of the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth. ICN is bringing the nursing community together by sharing on this platform all events organized by its Members!

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