During the trying times of the Coronavirus pandemic, the front-line workers have acted as saviors. They have tirelessly toiled day in and day out to ensure utmost care and nourishment of those affected by the pandemic and otherwise. Amidst such a show of efficiency, the World Health Organization’s emphasis on the well-being of nurses comes across as a breath of fresh air. Following WHO’s 148th Executive Board Meeting at Geneva, the nurses at ICN have yet again raised their call for early access to vaccinations for front-line workers.
ICN Chief Executive, Howard Catton has been seen reiterating the nurses’ call. He asserted the need for nurses and front-line workers to have early access to the Covid vaccination that has recently reached the markets. The health of the nurses and healthcare officials reflect on the patients’ health, thereby making the well-being of nurses a top priority in the healthcare world. Catton has further asked the government to ensure that vaccinations are provided with equity, bereft of a divide between its availability among the rich and poor. The Covid pandemic has brought many strata of society under harsh scrutiny and discrimination due to the unstable financial status quo of the world. Therefore, amidst such chaos, Catton’s plea comes as a silver lining.
Howard Catton has highlighted the pattern of nurse shortages in low and middle-income countries, going further to state that since most nurses are women, the availability and prioritization of vaccination is but a gender issue, as well. ICN has recently made interventions in the WHO’s board meeting regarding the state of mental preparedness, Covid response, the Immunization Agenda 2030, and Global Action on Patient Safety. ICN has put forward a plea for the arrangement of mechanisms that would ensure the mental well-being of nurses during the pandemic. Since the beginning of the pandemic, reports of trauma and stress among nurses have increased manifold. This is the perfect opportunity for the nurses to achieve what they deserve for their hard work.
ICN has been officially partnered with WHO since its set up in 1948. ICN has requested for the arrangement of health, education, and retraining opportunity, or “HERO”, funds to facilitate people who have found themselves in precarious positions due to loss of jobs in some sectors. ICN also welcomed the Immunisation Agenda 2030, stating the strong resolve of the nurses to implement it and ensure it’s smooth running. A proposal has been made to include nurses in the Partnership Council. It would help successful mobilization of the Agenda.
The designation of World Patient Safety Day has been a big step in carrying forward the Global Action on Patient Safety. The September report of ICN, Protecting Nurses from COVID-19 a Top Priority, showed the real extent of the threats nurses regularly face at work- violence, abuse, unsafe staffing levels, job-related stress, and urgent personal protective equipment (PPE) shortages, to name a few. Therefore, WHO’S report came as a great joyous relief for the nurses at ICN.