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World Health Day 2024 – ‘My health, my right’

by efn efn

All over the world, diseases, wars and disasters have put the health of millions of citizens at risk and have placed our nurses under an enormous pressure. This year the World Health Day is dedicated to the theme “My Health, My Right” – a way to remind that everyone has the fundamental right to access quality healthcare, regardless where it lives.

In these difficult times, it is crucial to understand that with the human tragedy and social and economic impact of these threats and decades of underinvestment in healthcare systems, the complex health challenges across the world make it imperative to develop innovative and accessible tools and mechanisms to analyse, plan, implement, monitor and evaluate the solutions across the health and social care ecosystem.

One of the fundamental pillars to promote high quality healthcare is through a highly educated, dedicated and skilled workforce. It is therefore more than time for the national governments and health systems to invest in nursing education and in a resilient nursing workforce to address the growing nursing shortage. With the daily risk to patient safety and the moral distress caused by an inability due to the poor working environments to deliver the quality of care, it is impossible to stay in the profession. Hospitals/units need to close due to the shortage of nurses or engage in aggressive and unethical recruitment – with Brain Drain that will increase in the coming years. It is therefore key to rapidly escalate efforts to retain nurses within the profession and deliver on their priorities to address the shortage of nurses globally.

Nurses are the solution to address the world’s growing health care needs and inequalities. Nurses are frontline to coordinate care and empower patients and citizens. We, therefore, need highly qualified healthcare professionals with advanced roles (ref. EU Guideline on Advanced Roles) and the necessary skills and knowledge to support their roles and responsibilities (ref. EU Guideline on Nurse ePrescribing & EU Guideline on Integrated Care). This will all lead to sustainable ecosystem, in which nurses, take the lead.

We need for sure a deep, radical and global transformation of our societies putting the health of the living (nature, biosphere) at the heart of our common decisions and actions. Nurses are the best placed to apprehend the health effects of global environmental changes and related prevention/mitigation and preparedness and can play a paramount key role in this transformation, in their practice, their communities and policy decisions.