ICN calls on nations at 76th World Health Assembly to turn talk of supporting nurses into action

1 June 2023
WS 29

The International Council of Nurses (ICN) is calling on delegates returning home after attending the 76th World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva to turn all the talk about the importance of the global healthcare workforce into meaningful action to secure the future of nursing and other health professions.

ICN’s 80-strong delegation of nurses at the WHA, led by ICN President Dr Pamela Cipriano, spoke at a wide range of side events and intervened on numerous agenda items at the event, including on emergency preparedness, Universal Health Coverage, infection prevention and control, and women’s and children’s health.

Speaking after the event, ICN Chief Executive Officer Howard Catton praised the work of the delegation and said events that had happened outside the WHA demonstrated that the world needs nurses and nursing more than ever.


Mr Catton said: “Sadly, war and conflict have again cast their shadow over these meetings. We have had the attack on the hospital in Dnipro [Ukraine] just a few days ago, and we received a message directly from the Sudanese Nurses Organization President about the killing and the kidnap of health workers in his country.

‘Yes, support, protection, investment in nurses and health workers have been widely discussed, but we need more than words here in Geneva: we need actions translated into real, meaningful, practical help and support for the people when they go back to their own countries.”

Mr Catton acknowledged that many nurses were working under a lot of pressure, and some were considering whether they can carry on in their careers as nurses, but he said their contributions to the wellbeing of everyone are as important now as ever before.

Mr Catton said: “I know many of you may be questioning continuing being a nurse or even recommending nursing to other people. But to you who have those thoughts I say this: the world has never needed its nurses more than now. And you know, if nursing is in you, if it is part of you, the incredible privilege to be able to make a difference to people’s lives every single day.

‘Keep the faith. We are 28 million strong. We are nurses. We are the present, and we are the future.”

A full report on ICN’s participation in the 76th WHA will be available soon.

Further stories on WHA76:

Download the communique here