Posted on June 17, 2019

The World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH), an initiative of Qatar Foundation (QF), has partnered with the global Nursing Now Campaign and the International Council of Nurses to train young nursing leaders from around the world to amplify their voices and positively influence healthcare policy, ahead of attending the annual World Health Assembly.

The World Health Assembly is an annual meeting of health ministers held at the United Nations Office at Geneva, organized by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Young nurses from 18 countries participated in five days of meetings, talks, workshops, and networking opportunities. Twenty-four individuals were selected from more than 750 applicants and came from Qatar, Oman, Australia, Barbados, Bhutan, Canada, the Czech Republic, India, Ireland, Lesotho, Malawi, Nepal, Nigeria, New Zealand, the Philippines, Sierra Leone, Uganda, and the United States. During their time in Geneva, the nurses visited the WHO headquarters where they met with Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, WHO. In addition, the nurses learned about the work of WISH and other international organizations who are collaborating to build a healthier world. The nurses were also made part of the International Council of Nurses delegation to the main World Health Assembly sessions – the first time young nurse representatives have been part of such an official delegation.

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The nurses also met with Elizabeth Iro, Chief Nursing Officer, WHO, as well as Lord Nigel Crisp, Co-Chair of Nursing Now and author of a WISH report on Nursing and Universal Health Coverage – published last year to coincide with the WISH 2018 global gathering in Doha. The WISH report was used by the participants as the basis of discussions on how to identify issues facing nurses and how best to overcome them. It is estimated that there will be a shortfall of nine million nurses globally by 2030. Nurses represent 50 percent of the global healthcare workforce, and the WISH report identified a lack of opportunity for nurses to lead and shape policy as a serious obstacle in vital efforts to attracting and retaining high-quality, qualified nurses.

Asmaa Al-Atey, Director of Nursing at Hamad General Hospital, and one of two Qatari nurses to participate in the Geneva sessions, said: “I was very honored to represent the nursing community of Qatar alongside the other young nursing representatives from around the world. I am grateful for the opportunity to engage in a meaningful conversation with the WHO director-general, to meet the WHO chief nursing officer and other global healthcare leaders, and to have the chance to share knowledge with nurses from so many countries.”

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Participant Ciaran McHugh, Chairperson, National Student Section at Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, said: “I feel so privileged to be part of the group and can’t thank Nursing Now, the International Council of Nurses, and WISH enough for bringing us all together to learn about how to get nurses’ voices heard. “When we were looking through the WISH report together, it quickly became clear that so many issues are common, regardless of where in the world you are working. I look forward to putting what I’ve learned into action and staying connected with the other participants so that we can continue sharing ideas.”

Nick Bradshaw, Partnerships Manager at WISH, added: “It’s easy to underestimate the contribution that nurses make to global health, and for too long that is exactly what has been happening. The Nursing Now campaign is working tirelessly to promote the profession of nursing and we are delighted to have partnered with them to give young nurses a voice at the World Health Assembly meeting. “Our Doha summit is now an essential fixture of the global healthcare calendar, but it is important that after each summit we identify key issues highlighted by our community of experts, and then collaborate with local and international partners, such as Nursing Now, to find innovative ways to find lasting solutions to those issues.”

For further information about WISH, please visit www.wish.org.qa and @WISHQatar on social media.

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