The following is an address delivered by Hon. Hazel Brandy-Williams, Junior Minister of Health in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) in observance of Nurses Week 2019.
Today May 06, starts the observance of Nurses week 2019 which culminates on May 12 in celebration of International Nurses Day. Nurses Week is a time for everyone to recognize the immeasurable contributions and positive impact nurses make in improving the health of the Nation.
Nurses represent more than 50 percent of the global health workforce and are often considered “the heartbeat of healthcare”. This week we join the rest of the world in raising the profile of this most noble profession.
This year’s theme “Nurses a Voice to Lead - Health for All,” echoes the core principles of the Alma Ata Declaration of 1978, which serves as a precursor to Universal Health Care. Health for all means that “health care is to be brought within reach of everyone in a given country”.
Although this is an ambitious goal, it is one that can be achieved through strong commitments, partnership by all stakeholders and a paradigm shift using the primary health care strategy. Nurses are poised to advance this goal as we are cognizant of their vital role in achieving global mandates such as the Sustainable Development Goals and Universal Health Coverage.
They are the forefront of healthcare and are essential partners on the multidisciplinary health care team. Nursing roles have expanded over the years. Not only do they play an active role in disease prevention, treatment and care, they have also influenced health-related policies and empowered communities to take action towards improving their health and wellbeing.
Nurses are ambassadors of wellness who are guided by the principle “every contact counts” They have an integrated and sustained connection to the people they serve and are poised to disseminate important health information to meet the needs of patients, their families and their communities.
As the Federation moves closer to universal health, nurses will be called on increasingly to both participate in and lead changes. They must see themselves as professionals with the capacity and responsibility to affect organizational change and health care reform through influencing policy, process and structure.
Through their leadership and the working of the Nursing Council and Nurses Association, they are able to advocate for higher standards in health care and bring their voices and those of their patients to the decision making table. Their contribution can affect decisions that impact quality of life and ensure all Nevisians have access to high-quality, affordable health care coverage.
As a government we will continue to encourage our nurses to be involved in health policy, planning and management. They are integral to effectively reform our country health care delivery system. Achieving “health for all” will almost be impossible without our nurses. They are ideally placed to help us create a healthier and more equitable world.
I therefore declare Nurses Week 2019 officially launched.
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