‘Massive’ nursing investment needed for universal healthcare

An organisation representing nurses across the world has said that the United Nations (UN) goal of universal healthcare for the whole planet by 2030 will not be possible without global investment in nursing.

The International Council of Nurses (ICN) on Tuesday reiterated its calls for “massive investment” in nursing and for the profession to be put at the centre of efforts to bring about universal healthcare.

“It is nurses who provide the care that people need across the spectrum of health, from prevention to rehabilitation, and from birth to death”

Pamela Cipriano

The organisation made the calls to mark Universal Healthcare Day, which has been celebrated annually on 12 December since 2012.

Each year, global organisations use it to monitor the progress of the UN’s 2030 target which, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recently said, has stagnated and even reversed in some places.

Dr Pamela Cipriano, president of the ICN, said nurses were central to achieving this goal within the timeframe.

“Politicians and leaders around the world need to invest in nurses because they are the key enablers of primary care,” Dr Cipriano said.

“It is nurses who provide the care that people need across the spectrum of health, from prevention to rehabilitation, and from birth to death.”

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Earlier this year, ICN chief executive Howard Catton made similar remarks to Nursing Times, and said primary care, and by extension nurses, was the key to achieving global universal healthcare.

The ICN urged world leaders, as part of Universal Healthcare Day, to increase the size of their nursing workforce, echoing calls from 2020 to take urgent action to avoid a projected six million-strong nursing deficit within the decade.

The organisation further warned that, by 2030, 4.5 billion people are set to lack essential health services, with a further two billion unable to pay for care in their home countries, according to the WHO.

The ICN, to continue the push for universal healthcare by 2030, joined up with WHO’s social media campaign to keep raising awareness for world leaders.

As well as this, Dr Cipriano has worked from within the UN’s International Health Partnerships for UCH2030 Steering Committee to make the case for global nursing investment.

Dr Cipriano added: “Universal healthcare can only be achieved through having nurses working closely with individuals, families and communities in their homes and neighbourhoods.

“UHC relies on boosting primary health care, which is all about nursing care,” she said.

“Leaders need to invest in nurses to be sure they are where they are needed most, and that is working with individuals, families, and communities – alongside patients in their everyday lives.”

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