ICN development programme lifts and strengthens nursing in Africa

13 February 2024

The International Council of Nurses (ICN) is launching Phase Three of its ODENNA development programme aimed at strengthening and increasing the influence of nursing associations in Africa. Nurses are the foundation for healthy communities and societies, bringing life-changing knowledge and care to the people they serve.

ICN, through its National Nursing Association (NNA) members, helps nurses to address all aspects of health, and influence change in health systems to better serve their communities.

The coordinated work of the Associations provides the structure and strength to advance nursing and health care. To this end, ICN is bringing together more than 80 senior nurses from 23 African nations for Phase Three of its Organizational Development of National Nursing Associations (ODENNA) programme. ICN is grateful to the BD Foundation and the Johnson & Johnson Foundation for their generous funding of the programme.

ICN President Dr Pamela Cipriano said the programme would strengthen nursing associations to make them even more effective in their work now and into the future:

 “In this, our 125th year, we know how powerful and influential NNAs are to lift and advance nurses and nursing. This unique ICN programme harnesses the wealth of experience of our Associations around the world, which are the source of ICN’s strength, to enhance nursing on the continent of Africa.

‘The ODENNA programme is an amazing opportunity to formalize what our NNAs have always done: share best practice and help each other to develop and push the profession forward. I am confident it will strengthen the NNAs and their advocacy for the nurses in the countries involved, and that is good news for the people and communities that they serve.”

The ODENNA programme features three phases:

  • Phase 1--IDENTIFY: Each NNA completes ICN’s Organizational Assessment Tool to identify strengths and areas for improvement and development.
  • Phase 2--EQUIP: Individuals from participating NNAs complete ICN’s in-house Leadership for Change™ programme.
  • Phase 3--GROW:  The Nursing Association Mentorship Initiative twins participating NNAs with well-established NNAs in a mutually beneficial relationship to share expertise and experience with the aim of increasing the capacity of the NNAs in Africa to represent their nurses and create better health outcomes for their populations.

ODENNA Programme Lead Jody White said: “Advancing the nursing profession has always been at the heart of everything ICN has done. This programme is another example of ICN’s 125-year commitment to protect and sustain the beating heart of the nursing profession everywhere, in the face of ever-increasing demands for health care.”

The 23 participating associations have completed Phase One, in which they assessed their association’s needs and identified a priority project. Phase Two is ongoing and will see the NNA’s representatives complete ICN’s Leadership for ChangeTM programme workshops in March in Senegal and Rwanda. At these workshops, they will prepare to enter the next exciting step, Phase Three, when the participating African NNAs are linked to other established Associations in ICN’s new Nursing Association Mentorship Initiative (NAMI).

For more on ODENNA see ICN website here

See list of NNAs in the ODENNA programme below:

Association Nationale des Infirmières et Infirmiers d'Etat du Sénégal, Association Nationale des infirmiers et infirmières de Côte d'Ivoire, Association Nationale des Infirmiers/ères du Togo, Botswana Nurses Union, Democratic Nursing Organization of South Africa (DENOSA), Ethiopian Nurses Association, Ghana Registered Nurses Association, Liberia Nurses Association, Namibian Nurses Association, National Association of Gambia Nurses & Midwives, National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives, National Nurses Association of Kenya, National Organisation of Nurses and Midwives of Malawi, Nurses Association of the Republic of Seychelles, Ordre National des Infirmiers de la RDC (Congo Democratic Republic), Rwanda Nurses and Midwives Union, Somaliland Nursing and Midwifery Association, South Sudan Nurses and Midwives Association, Swaziland Nursing Association, Tanzania National Nurses' Association, Uganda Nurses & Midwives Union, Zambia Union of Nurses Organization, Zimbabwe Nurses Association.