67 Session of WHO Regional Committee
On September 11-14 EFNNMA Steering Committee members took part in the 67th session of the WHO European Regional Committee held in Budapest, Hungary. Ministers and directors of health from member states of the WHO European Region attend this meeting, adopt binding policies, strategies and action plans for the region.
The new WHO General Secretary Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus elected at the World Health Assembly in May 2017 attended the Regional Committee for the first time.
Several items of The Regional Committee Agenda were of a great importance to EFNNMA, and nursing and midwifery associations of the region.
First of all, EFNNMA was prepared to take part in the session devoted to sustainable health workforce in the WHO European Region: framework for action. Without a sustainable workforce it will not be possible to provide universal health coverage and achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. There are 7.3 million nurses and midwives in the Region, but WHO says this number is inadequate to meet current and future health needs of the region.
The Regional Committee session on sustainable health workforce started with a short film with Lauren Marie Grech, midwifery student from Malta reflecting that having a transformed and effective health workforce is essential for health systems, in order to anticipate and respond to demographic, epidemiological and technological changes across the Region. The film was intended to prepare the delegates and set up the ideas of strong nursing and midwifery workforce.
General Secretary Tedros was seated at the head table during this session emphasizing the strategic importance of the workforce for health for sustainable development.
Dr Hans Kluge, Director, Health Systems and Public Health introduced the document and the work completed by WHO with governmental and non-governmental partners and put the main emphasis on professional nursing and midwifery workforce. The framework reflects the Global strategy on human resources for health: Workforce 2030 in a regional context. It has 4 strategic objectives: to transform education and optimize performance; to align planning and investment in the health workforce; to build capacity to develop human resource for health (i.e. leadership and governance); and to improve workforce data for policy and planning.
In the following discussion several country delegates referred to national shortage of nurses and midwives. The Hungarian Minister of Health presented their national reforms in nursing and midwifery that include introduction of master degree programs, improvements of work environment and other retention strategies that already show positive outcomes.
The EFNNMA SC joined several NGOs in a joint statement presented just prior to the framework adoption. The joint Statement is published on WHO website as well as EFNNMA Position Statement that has been prepared specifically for the RC Agenda item on sustainable workforce.
The framework has been adopted by consensus. As it implies actions on a country level, all Governments will need to develop plans depending on the local needs.
The document is available on WHO website and it is important to use it actively as a tool when national policies being developed and implemented. This is an important momentum for us to be aware, involved and sound. The EFNNMA steering committee encourages all our member associations to engage with their ministries of health to ensure nursing and midwifery input into these important strategic plans.
Another WHO RC session important to EFNNMA focused on the new requirements to WHO partnerships. Specifically, starting from 2018, NGOs will need to go through the accreditation process to be able to participate in WHO RC meetings. For EFNNMA working with WHO under the Memorandum of Understanding it will be an issue of technical work and preparedness.
(WHO Division of Health Systems prepared a special journal issue which reflects different opinions on future workforce including some of those discussed during EFNNMA Annual meeting in Berlin in March 2017) LINK
Voices of the region LINK
– you will find all the films
EFNNMA Position Statement LINK
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