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Adelani Temiloluwa
School Of Nursing Ondo
Nursing Student
300Level, Nigeria.
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Every year, the International Council of Nurses chooses
a theme for International Nurses Day. This is celebrated on 12 May,

the birthday of Florence Nightingale, to reflect on the value nurses bring to the delivery of care and also a time to forecast into the future. For the past two years the celebration has focused on the voice of nursing with the theme Nurses: A Voice to Lead. In 2017, the role
of the nursing voice in achieving the Sustainable
Development Goals was discussed, and in 2018, we looked at the human right to health. This year, 2019, our focus is on nursing voice from the standpoint of Health for All.

Nurses and midwives, a voice to lead. Health is a fundamental human experience and this should not be taken lightly. This makes a difference not limited to only the lives of people but the lovelihood of the entire nation.
Before we can have effective voice to lead, there is a need to ensure a unified front without breakaways.

On May 5th and 6th the International Day of the Midwife was duly launched at Bolgatanga Jubilee Park. I wish all midwives a happy celebration. Today, we are officially launching the International Day of the Nurse. Shall we all observe this month, May, as a month of Nurses and Midwives and join forces to ensure our united voice lead the agenda "Health for All".

According to the ICN President, Annette Kennedy,
Nurses all over the world every day are advocating for Health for All in the most challenging circumstances with limited resources to deliver health care to those most in need. This can be seen in Uganda where the nursing staff visit villages to teach basic health tips particularly related to personal and household hygiene and sanitation.

The nurses build close relationships with the community and collaborate with the local Village Health Worker.
It can also be seen in the USA, where nurses are
partnering with social workers to develop deep community relationships and local expertise to bring high-quality health care and coordinated services to individuals struggling with homelessness, addiction and transition from incarceration.

This context is not different from that of Ghana. Our midwives and nurses, especially Community Health Nurses /Nurse Assistants Preventive go through tough situations to access hard-to-reach areas during immunization. Some have to walk through rivers and flood in order to save lives.

As nurses and midwives, who are closest to the patient, have always helped to bring their voice to the policy table. We must not give excuse or give blames for our failure to be the voice leading the healthcare.

“I attribute my success to this – I never gave or took any excuse.” ~ Florence Nightingale

Let us join our voices together and give or take no excuse for any failure, and as a team we can ensure our voice is heard on the policy table at all times.

According to Pamela Cipriano, International Council of Nurses (ICN) Vice President and President of American Nurses Association, the National Nurses Association for the United States, Nurses and midwives more than almost any other health professional know how important that is to be heard on the policy table. Our voice represents the concerns of the patients we care for. And nurses and midwives being at almost every setting, where people live, work, play and learn, know how essential it is to make sure the people have access to affordable quality healthcare, no matter where and no matter when. It is critical we recognize that nurses are enablers of making sure people have access to that care, providing the care themselves, making sure they speak out and add a voice to advocate for patients is something we see around the globe.

We need to intensify this in Ghana. It is very important when we raise our voices to policy makers to make sure we advocate for everyone who needs to receive care when they are ill, that we focus on the prevention and the Public Health Needs, that we are very aware of preventing Public Health Emergencies and we also provide support in terms of disaster of emerging illness like we have seen around the globe. Nurses are the consistence voice. Not all the countries can easily address all the health needs of their people, so we must keep advocating in the public health policy arenas through the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Communication, Food and Drug Authority, through Ministry Of Transport, through Ministry of Housing, through the lawmakers, through the Ministry of Finance, through other healthcare professionals, about how important that regardless how much someone can pay for their care, we need to make sure that it is close by that they have someone they can go to and that might be a nurse, physicians, Pharmacist, radiologist, therapists, and others, who again become very important to overall health. We know it is nurses and midwives who are the constant advocates, who are there at every time to address health needs of individuals. We know health is so important that includes mental health, Physical health, spiritual and emotional health. It means security for family's to not live in community with violence. To have a community where there is good sanitation, healthy air, water, and food. All of these factors affect our health and nurses being everywhere in every setting are speaking up a need to continue to speak up to be really effective voices in making sure that we can reach the point where we are assuring everyone that health is indeed a human right. It is more important for people to have health than to restore health when someone is ill. Because sometimes we lose such battles if we have people who were ill. It also makes great economic sense to provide the services and preventive services that really helps someone to be healthy and stay healthy. It is economically important to have a country to have a thriving workforce. It is also important that we support our children to have the right nutrition, ability to do well in school, this will help maintain their health. There are so many reasons why when we focus on health as a human right, it helps not only the individual, but it helps the family and the country.

It is high time Public Health Acts and all other health related acts are reviewed to ensure a fair representation of nurses and midwives. The Ghanaian nurses and midwives have been sidelined on the policy table for long and it is high time the President of the Republic of Ghana, the Minister for Health, the Director General for the Ghana Health Service and the CEOs for all the health agencies, so as the media landscape see the need to ensure nurses and midwives are brought to the policy table, especially at the policy formulation level and not only the policy implementation level.

Act 852 National Health Insurance Act, 2012 (The Governing Body of the authority, subsection 4b) victimizes nurses and midwives in this country because our profession is not represented. More than 80 percent of the insured services and health products are administered nurses and midwives in Ghana. Why then should such act exclude a representative from the Nursing and midwifery profession?

This is very unfair to the profession.

Act 851 Public Health Act, 2012 (Governing body of the authority subsection 83.1) also excludes a representative of the nursing and midwifery profession. Yet nurses and midwives are those who observe for adverse effects of all drugs or medicines during administration. Would it not be fair for such profession to have a fair representation on such governing boards ?
These are just few evidence-based acts to justify my argument that the nursing and midwifery profession has been sidelines on the policy table for long.

I want to stress how important it is if voice of nurses and midwives is heard in the public policy arenas. Nurses and midwives are very intelligent individuals, we advocate on regular basis, we are trusted by the people that we serve without question. As we think about nurses and midwives raising their voices, and being able to make sure we are leading the charge for health as a human right, we know that we have to prepare that we are encouraging and influencing the policy makers, the decision makers in our communities and at the highest level of our nation, because that is where we are going to make a difference. It is important for nurses and midwives to learn more skills and be able to add secure in regular basis so we can make sure that the people we serve everyday know that we are fighting for them and we will continue to exert our influence. It may not be easy and it requires repeat, visits and making sure that we have been very clear about advocating for our public, our communities. This is one of the most fundamental things we can do as nurses and midwives to make sure our voices heard. It is going to make all the differences in making sure all the resources are there and there are countries valuing how important it is that we are addressing health and health needs and focusing on how important it is for the future.

Happy International Nurses and Midwives Month

Long-live GRNMA
long-live Ghana

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