The Duchess of Cambridge has both launched and become patron of a new global campaign to raise the profile and status of nursing, which was launched today.
Along with UK nurses and nursing leaders from around the world, she attended an event this afternoon at St Thomas’ Hospital in London to launch of the Nursing Now campaign.
“I’d like to congratulate and thank nurses everywhere for the difference you make” Duchess of Cambridge
The three-year global initiative is being run by the Burdett Trust for Nursing, in collaboration with the International Council of Nurses and the World Health Organization.
The campaign is intended to recognise and promote nursing as being at the heart of efforts by countries around the world to provide healthcare for all, influencing policymakers and supporting nurses themselves to “lead, learn and build a global movement”.
Those behind it noted that, as one of the most trusted professions, nurses provided effective and quality care to all ages and were central to addressing the increasing burden of long-term conditions.
As revealed by Kensington Palace earlier this month, the duchess was set to help launch the campaign, but it was confirmed today that she would also become its patron.
“I’d like to congratulate and thank nurses everywhere for the difference you make,” she told the audience of nursing and healthcare leaders.
“Nurses look after us at our happiest and saddest times,” she said. “Your dedication is awe inspiring.”
The duchess joined WHO chief nursing officer Elizabeth Iro and ICN president Annette Kennedy in calling on governments, clinicians and patients to “value nurses and champion their leadership”.
“Nurses are the answer but we need real investment and support”
The London event is being linked up with a launch event in Switzerland, hosted by Geneva University Hospitals, in the presence of WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. The campaign will also be launched in countries including South Africa, Uganda and the US.
Nursing Now was founded by nurses and other health experts based on the findings of a 2016 report produced by the UK’s All Party Parliamentary Group on Global Health Co-chaired by Lord Nigel Crisp.
The report concluded that strengthening nursing globally would have a triple impact of improving health, improving gender equality by empowering women and building stronger economies.
Nursing Now co-chair Professor Sheila Tlou said the new campaign was about “supporting nurses to lead, to learn and to strengthen the profession”.
“We will equip them through training, support and the development of political leadership skills to take their rightful place at the table when decisions are being taken about the future shape of healthcare in their countries,” she said.
“WHO is delighted to collaborate on the campaign to support nurses and midwives around the world”
ICN leader Ms Kennedy said: “Through our 133 national nursing associations, we know of the great work nurses are doing to deliver care and improve health, but we also know how tough their working lives can be. Nurses are the answer but we need real investment and support.”
Ms Iro, the recently appointed WHO chief nurse, stated that health workers were “the DNA of health systems” and were a government health department’s “biggest asset”.
“Nurses and midwives represent the largest share of health workers and provide care for our families and our communities when we need them most,” she said.
“WHO is delighted to collaborate on the campaign to support nurses and midwives around the world in assisting their countries to achieve universal health coverage,” she added.
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