ICN ICM WHO Triad meeting 'Engaging nursing and midwifery stakeholders for effective multisector

Global Health is turning more and more to civil society for engagement and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) have an opportunity to contribute to global health in many ways. This session explored the role of civil society and other multi-sectoral stakeholders and how nursing and midwifery leaders may engage to advance nursing and midwifery globally. The room was completely filled with nursing and midwives representing their constituents from around the world, demonstrating the power of this community and their passion to contribute to the global dialogue while addressing national realities. This broad panel showcased a range of ways to engage as CSO.

Women in Global Health focused on five key messages that are relevant and important for the nursing and midwifery community during our speaking time:

  1. Change the narrative – Women are drivers and change agents in global health, not victims. Women are 70% of global health workers. Nurses and midwives account for nearly 50% of the health workforce - of the 43.5 million health workers in the world, it is estimated that 20.7 million are nurses and midwives.

  2. Invest in nurses/midwives and they will deliver Universal Health Coverage (UHC). Nurses have many roles: they provide and manage personal care and treatment, work with families and communities, and play a central part in public health and controlling disease and infection.

  3. Listen to nurses/midwives – And let them lead at all levels. We need more pathways for women from nursing and midwifery into leadership positions at all levels, from community to global. WGH strongly supports the appointment of Elizabeth Iro to the new position Chief Nursing Officer, by the Director General of WHO, Dr. Tedros.

  4. Gender equality is smart global health – WGH supports gender parity with intersectionality, global health will be strongest with diverse women’s voices at the table. WGH movement has supporters from over 70 countries and we are particularly concerned about ensuring women from the South are represented in global health leadership.

  5. #MeTooGlobalHealth – WGH is compiling research on the barriers faced by women health workers and one of the hidden issues we are bringing to light is sexual harassment of women health workers, which particularly affects nurses. Women health workers face abuse from four groups: co workers, patients, patients visitors and strangers intent on attacking women. There is very little research but we believe this is a near universal experience for nurses particularly and it needs immediate action.

Our final take away message during this session was to join the Women in Global Health movement and join the Gender Equity Hub, housed in the Global Health Workforce Network (GHWN), co–hosted by the World Health Organization and Women in Global Health.

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