PRESS RELEASE – THE International Council of Nurses (ICN) and the St. Lucia Nurses Association last weekend celebrated Nurses Week 2018 under the theme “A Voice to Lead, Health is a Human Right.”
We need to be at the forefront of advocating for access to health and nurses are the key to delivering it.
All over the world, there are individuals and communities who are suffering from illness due to a lack of accessible and affordable health care. But we must also remember that the right to health applies to nurses as well.
We know that improved quality and safety for patients depends on positive working environments for staff. This means the right to a safe working environment adequate remuneration and access to resources and education.
We must add to this the right to be heard and have a voice in decision making and policy development implementation.
We, as nurses, should be interested in the right to health as an approach to health care because it is evidence-based and is an important proven way of improving health and equity with a population.
The approach is pivotal in providing structure and discipline to the approach of health policy-making within a country and enables governments to be held to account.
Many health systems have an historic approach of being led from the “Top down” and when looking for economic efficiencies the individuals are sometime lost in these approaches.
Other approaches have led from a disease perspective rather than looking at the person as a whole.
Nurses can lead by supporting a people-centred approach to care and the health system. The health system cannot be technocratic or removed from the people it is meant to serve.
There are numerous legally-binding obligations related to the right to the highest attainable health. This means that Government and health systems have responsibilities to provide a certain standard of care to communities and populations.
The right to health is not static, but continues to evolve as progress in the field of service and technologies are made.
Nurses need to be making the decisive contribution to this process as they process the scientific reasoning, philosophical underpinnings and proximity to the patient, family and community.
The success of universal health coverage through people-centred care is dependent on the nursing profession providing a transformational approach to the way health is conceptualised and how health care is delivered.
This includes forming a fostering partnership with individuals and communities, policy makers, governments and other health professionals to modify the effects of social determinants of health, to conceptualize health care providers as inclusive of the community and to develop and scale-up innovative models of health care delivery.
A people-centred approach, a functional health system, the availability of an appropriately-skilled workforce and addressing the issues of access are the critical building blocks for universal health care coverage.
This International Nurses Week, let us together be a voice to lead by supporting a people-centred approach to health care.
Happy International Nurses’ Week to all the dedicated and hard working Nurses in St. Lucia.