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Global nursing campaign to launch 27 February


Press Release

Embargoed until: 00:01 CET (Geneva time), 27 February 2018

Global nursing campaign launched by HRH the Duchess of Cambridge with nurses and health leaders across the world

Nursing Now campaign to empower and support nurses in meeting 21st century health challenges  


London - The Duchess of Cambridge will today join nurses and other health leaders across the world in launching a global campaignaimed at raising the profile and status of nursing. The campaign recognises that nurses are at the heart of countries’ efforts to provide health for all. As one of the most trusted professions, nurses provide effective and quality care for people of all ages and are central in addressing the increasing burden of noncommunicable diseases such as cancer and heart disease. 

Speaking at the launch event at St Thomas’ Hospital, London, The Duchess will join the World Health Organization’s Chief Nursing Officer, the President of the International Council of Nurses, health leaders and nurses from countries around the world calling on governments, health professionals and service users to value nurses and champion their leadership in providing the best quality of care.  

The three-year global campaign is being run as a programme of the Burdett Trust for Nursing, in collaboration with the International Council of Nurses (ICN) and the World Health Organization (WHO). The London event is being linked up with a launch event in Geneva, Switzerland, hosted by the Hôpitaux Universitaires de Genève (the Geneva University Hospitals), in the presence of WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and global nursing advocate, Princess Muna Al-Hussein of Jordan and senior ICN Executives and Board. The campaign will also be launched in countries including South Africa, Uganda and the United States of America.

Nurses are the lynchpin of health teams, playing a crucial role in health promotion, disease prevention, treatment and care. The WHO estimates that nurses and midwives represent nearly one-half of the total number of health workers around the world. However, for all countries to reach Sustainable Development Goal 3 of health and well-being for all at all ages, WHO estimates that the world will need an additional 9 million nurses and midwives by 2030. These additional jobs represent a global opportunity for investment in health workers. The job benefits will be particularly beneficial for women and young people as demonstrated by the report of the UN Secretary-General’s High Level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth. 

Nursing Now Co-Chair Professor Sheila Tlou said: “The Nursing Now campaign is 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.” 

Annette Kennedy, President of the ICN said: “The International Council of Nurses is proud to be part of Nursing Now. 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.”

ICN will today release a report and set of resources for nurses to use under the theme "Nurses: A Voice to Lead - Health is a Human Right."  This International Nurses Day report, being launched early, is one way in which ICN brings nursing solutions from around the world to the global policy table. 

Elizabeth Iro, WHO’s Chief Nursing Officer, said: “Health workers are the DNA of health systems. They are a Ministry of Health’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. 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.”

Nursing Now was founded by nurses and other health experts based on the findings of the 2016 Triple Impact report produced by the UK’s All Party Parliamentary Group on Global Health Co-Chaired by Lord Nigel Crisp who is also Co-Chair of the Nursing Now board. 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. Universal Health Coverage will not be achieved unless nursing is strengthened. 



Notes to Editors

Media contact:

For further information, photos or footage please contact: Sagal Ali at or +44 (0)7971 475164

About Nursing Now


Nursing Now is a three-year global campaign run in collaboration with the International Council of Nurses and the World Health Organization. Nursing Now aims to improve health globally by raising the profile and status of nurses worldwide – influencing policymakers and supporting nurses themselves to lead, learn and build a global movement.


About the World Health Organization

The World Health Organization is the directing and coordinating authority on international health within the United Nations’ system. Key areas of work are: providing leadership on matters critical to health and engaging in partnerships where joint action is needed; shaping the research agenda and stimulating the generation, translation and dissemination of valuable knowledge; setting norms and standards and promoting and monitoring their implementation; articulating ethical and evidence-based policy options; providing technical support, catalysing change, and building sustainable institutional capacity; and monitoring the health situation and assessing health trends.


For further information, contact:


Alison Brunier (in London)

Communications Officer

World Health Organization

Mobile : +41 79 701 9480

Email : 


Fadela Chaib (in Geneva)

Communications Officer

World Health Organization

Mobile : +41 79 475 5556

Email : 



About the International Council of Nurses (ICN)

The International Council of Nurses(ICN) is a federation of more than 130 national nurses associations representing the millions of nurses worldwide. Operated by nurses and leading nursing internationally, ICN works to ensure quality care for all and sound health policies globally.

To view the International Nurses Day report:

For further information, contact: 


Julie Clerget at:

Tel: +41 22 908 0100

Fax: +41 22 908 0101






Statement of the Regional Director, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, on the launch of “Nursing Now”: 

The ‘Nursing Now’ campaign, to be launched in Geneva, London and Kampala on 27 February 2018, aims to improve health globally by raising the status and profile of nursing, and enable nurses to maximize their contribution to achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC). 

‘Nursing Now’ is led by the Burdett Trust for Nursing, an independent charitable trust in the UK, supported by the UK Departments of Health, and Trade and Industry, and the Department of International Development. WHO and the International Council of Nurses are core partners. 

‘Nursing Now’ implements the commitment made by all Member States and the resolution by the UN General Assembly to step up investments in the health workforce. It comes at a critical time in Africa’s Health Transformation as we roll out UHC across the continent.

Nurses are the backbone of healthcare delivery in Africa. Achieving UHC will depend on their talents and skills being utilized to the fullest capacity. They have the numbers, knowledge and values that make them uniquely placed to provide people-centred care to meet the current and future health needs of populations.

The main challenge of nursing in Africa is the widening gap of supply, demand, and unequal distribution of the available workforce, particularly in rural or remote areas. Retaining health workers is critical to improving coverage and equitable access to health care in Africa: While there is a shortage of nurse midwives, even those we have are not equitably distributed because of retention challenges. 

Imagine how many lives could be saved if every health centre in Africa, particularly in rural areas, had well-trained nurse midwives?

Conducive working environments are a strong motivator to encourage staff retention and attract people to a career in nursing. Working environments that address safe staffing levels, adequate and effective use of technology, respect and gender equity, as well as professional development and leadership opportunities will help to retain nurse midwives as people in the right place, at the right time, in the right profession. 

As we roll out UHC, we need more nurses now in leadership positions to influence health in all policies, and more opportunities for leadership development at all levels. Opportunities for nurse leaders do exist, particularly if they can envision their contribution beyond nursing. They can be change agents, guiding development, engaging patients and communities, and promoting the use of technology to improve access to health services. 

Investments in nursing are needed now to develop competent, people-centred nurse midwives who can collaborate across cadres and sectors to achieve UHC and the health-related Sustainable Development Goals. 

Investing in nursing now by increasing their numbers, skills and competencies will yield triple returns of better health outcomes, greater health security and economic growth through job creation and healthier, more productive populations. 

I am a very proud supporter of ‘Nursing Now’

Suggestions for Tweets

Nurses are the backbone of healthcare delivery in Africa, and investing in nurses is an investment in health development and economic prosperity. 

Nurses have the numbers, knowledge and values that make them uniquely placed to provide people-centred care to meet the current and future health needs of populations.

Nurses are the backbone of healthcare delivery in Africa. Achieving Universal Health Coverage will depend on their knowledge and skills being utilized to the fullest capacity. 

As we roll out Universal Health Coverage, we need more nurses in leadership positions to influence health in all policies, and more opportunities for leadership development at all levels. 

Quote card:


Investing in nursing will yield a triple impact: better access to quality healthcare, better protection from health emergencies, and better health - leading to healthier populations and greater economic growth.