FROM OUR COLUMNISTS Internutiond Affdin Global Issues for Nurses and Nursing


NE MAIN OBJECTIVE of the International Council of Nurses (ICN) since its founding almost 100 years ago has been to help nurses make a difference in the health care system and to be a strong and positive social force in upgrading health care. From its vantage point in Geneva, the ICN has not isolated itself from the gravity of the world’s needs, particularly in developing countries where over one billion people live in absolute poverty and a half billion people are deprived of primary health care. The ICN is also concerned about the bleak picture in the so-called industrialized countries where over 100 billion people live below the poverty line. Where should nurses and health care workers begin their quest to impact health care needs throughout the world? Primary Health Care (PHC) is considered the ideal standard for health care and has the role of the nurse as the focal point. Community involvement and intersectoral cooperation managed by PHC nursing must form part of the strategy to reach out to the poor, the drug addicts, the homeless, the deprived children, the elderly, and the human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS)-affected persons and their families. Since the inception of PHC at Alma Ata in 1978, most countries’ PHC projects have been initiated in rural areas. Spearheaded by the World Health Assembly technical discussions in 1990, national and local health authorities are now searching for ways to make PHC as relevant to inner city inhabitants as it is to rural populations-the accent is on community involvement. The ICN has been in the forefront of molding nurses into PHC leaders who will generate community self-reliance, become politically involved in

NANCY J. VATRE Editor International Nming Review 3 P&ace Jan Marteuu 1201Gmeva Switzerland Adapted from a speech presented to the International Academy of Nursing Editors Conference, London, England, August 16, 1991. Copyright o 1992 by W.B. Saunders Company 8755-7223/92/0805-0001$03.00/0 JOUVUI of Profesrionul Nursing,

policymaking, and ensure that nurses are part of national, city, and community programs. Community involvement is also crucial in the HIV/ AIDS campaign. The ICN and the World Health Organization (WHO) have just completed a 2-year project in eight African countries where nurses were educated to reach communities and coordinate national HIV/AIDS prevention and care activities. It was remarkable that when the ICN began the project, the AIDS pandemic was in its seventh year, and relatively few international nurses were knowledgeable about the complexity of AIDS. The theme of this year’s World Health Assembly technical discussions in May 1992 was women, health, and development. To illustrate the importance of women in all areas of human development, which is linked to economic and health development, the WHO recently published “The Worlds’ Women 1970-1990. Reaching the poorer and the vulnerable women (migrants, refugees, heads of households, the disabled, the elderly, the young) and involving them in development and health programs is crucial, as is an overall revamping of legal and constitutional systems. Experience of health care programs has demonstrated that local women volunteers are the best representatives from among the poor and are eager to participate in training sessions developed by nurses and pass on the knowledge to their families and communities. For its part, the ICN will continue to include a women’s component in its activities, particularly in its yearly campaigns on International Nurses’ Day, which reflects the crucial issues for nursing and provides the mechanisms to encourage nurses, other health care workers, and the public to become involved. Since 1988, themes have focused on safe motherhood, school health, nurses and the environment, and mental health and nursing. This year nurses were asked to find strategies to provide quality care to the growing elderly population. In 1993, the theme will be quality and cost-effectiveness in health care, which coincides with the focus on unity and quality at the ICN’s Quadrennial Congress in Spain the same year and ties in with the WHO’s recently announced new paradigm for public health action and its future emphasis on economic issues. The ICN and its 106-member nurses’ associations are facilitating a high level of caring practice for nurses throughout the world.

Vol 8, No 5 (September-October),

1992: p 259


Global issues for nurses and nursing.

FROM OUR COLUMNISTS Internutiond Affdin Global Issues for Nurses and Nursing 0 NE MAIN OBJECTIVE of the International Council of Nurses (ICN) since...
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