International Council of Nurses

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Seventy-second World Health Assembly (A72/1)
Agenda Item: 
- Prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases

The health workforce has an enormous contribution to make in the promotion, prevention & control of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) & needs to be a central part of any NCD strategy. The WHO Independent High-level Commission on NCDs recommended that governments reorient health systems to include health promotion, the prevention & control of NCDs, & mental health services in their UHC policies & plans. Essential for this is strengthened primary health care & a well-equipped multi-disciplinary health workforce, especially nurses. As noted in the report, with the right knowledge, skills, opportunities, & financial support, nurses are uniquely placed to act as effective practitioners, health coaches, spokespersons, and knowledge suppliers for patients & families throughout the life course.

Nurses are increasingly taking on the management of NCDs & providing high-quality, accessible & cost-effective services. Nurses use every contact & every opportunity for health promotion, disease prevention & early detection. Prevention & treatment health care services for NCDs, especially primary care services, should be designed to be primarily nurse-led which will ensure high-quality care that meets emerging & increasing needs of populations.

ICN calls on Member States to:
•Enable nurses to work to their full scope of practice & support the development of advanced & specialist roles. This may require modernising regulatory frameworks to support nurses broader decision-making authority.
•Include & strengthen the contribution of nursing leaders in high-level policy & planning decision making. This includes appointing nurses to senior positions within the health system.
•Ensure the availability of safe, effective, & quality diagnostics, medicines, vaccines, technologies, & palliative care.

Recognising, investing in & mobilising the nursing workforce will lead to real & lasting changes.