The European Forum of National Nursing and Midwifery Associations (EFNNMA) is the voice of nursing and midwifery within WHO European Region.Working in partnership and strategically with WHO and other key stakeholders we aim to influence health policy, improve the quality of health services and the health of people across the 53 Member States of the Region. We are passionate advocates of the central and unique contribution that Nurses and Midwives make to individual and population health and well-being across Europe and are committed to ensuring both professions are supported to deliver excellence in their practice. As the nature of care changes we believe that strengthening and developing the nursing and midwifery workforce through the provision of lifelong learning and research delivers excellence in public health and people-centered healthcare.
The 71 session of the WHO-Europe Regional Committee
For the second year the annual session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe was held virtually due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Health ministers and high-level representatives of the 53 Member States of the WHO European Region as well as partner organizations and civil society will meet virtually to discuss current health issues and set the direction for future activities.
This 71st session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe (RC71) had a special focus on delivering the WHO European Programme of Work 2020–2025 (EPW) – “United Action for Better Health in Europe”, which was adopted last year. More specifically, Member States:
endorsed the official launch of the EPW flagships, the European Immunization Agenda 2030 and the Mental Health Coalition;
draw lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic in terms of emergency preparedness and response;
considered opportunities to reorient health systems, reinvent primary health care and rethink health priorities in the post-COVID-19 era and in the light of future pandemics;
discussed strengthening WHO politically, technically and financially, to make WHO/Europe fit for purpose, and optimize its impact at country level.
EFNNMA Board members took part in the 71st session and provided its input under three Agenda items via oral and written statements prepared jointly with the International Council of Nurses.
Provisional agenda item 3 - Response to the COVID-19 pandemic: lessons learned to date from the WHO European Region, stating that
"Building on the lessons learned in this crisis, investing in the nursing and midwifery workforces, and integrating the global strategic direction for nursing and midwifery into the national healthcare planning should be placed at the core of development for the way forward. Nurses, accounting for 60% of the health professions, have been leading the response in the pandemic and ensuring the delivery of safe and quality essential services in communities. We emphasize the engagement and empowerment of nurse leaders in the region, such as the Chief Nursing Officer at government level is essential to supporting the design and implementation of the integrated people centred care and primary health care approaches. We also urge Member States to establish and strengthen senior leadership positions for the nursing and midwifery workforce in the region".
Provisional agenda item 5 - Reinventing primary health care in the post-COVID-19 era and stated:
The effective and safe delivery of comprehensive PHC services is dependent on the strength, capacity and capability of the health workforce. We call on Member States to adopt the policy priorities of the recently released WHO Global Strategic Directions for Nursing and Midwifery and the complementary WHO Euro Roadmap for Nursing and Midwifery. We also urge Member States to adopt incentives that attract, train and retain nurses and midwives. This includes removal of barriers that prevent them from working to their full scope of practice and that will allow for quality “fit-for-purpose” PHC.
Provisional agenda item 6 - European Immunization Agenda (EIA) 2030: Building better health for tomorrow and emphasized that
Nurses and midwives are the largest clinical providers of immunization in Europe. Findings from a recent ICN survey on COVID-19 mass immunization shows nurses play a key role in increasing vaccination rates and reducing vaccine hesitancy, particularly by supporting development of education resources and tools. As the most trusted professions, nurses and midwives support community engagement, increase health literacy and build public confidence in immunization.
The 71st session of the Regional Committee was followed by a series of additional briefings and side events on 16–17 September 2021 to facilitate further reflections and discussions on a range of other health issues including Numan resources for Health. This time EFNNMA was invited to provide a video-statement reflecting the role of nurses and midwives in tackling the pandemic, the ongoing moral distess and burnout of healthcare workers, the ultimate need for Governmental support and investmestments.