On the 8th of April, Dr Mira Dašić, the Director of the South-Eastern Europe Health Network represented the organization at the high-level conference Nurses and midwives, at the forefront of change, organized by the Romanian Order of Nurses and Midwives.
The event marked World Health Day and served as an opportunity to honor the contribution of nurses and midwives at the frontlines of COVID-19 response and towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
Chaired by the President of the Romanian Order of Nurses and Midwives, Mr Mircea Timofte, the conference was attended by Dr Hans Kluge, the Regional Director of the Regional Office for Europe of the World Health Organization.
National high-level officials from the Presidential Administration, the Romanian Parliament as well as Romanian members of the European Parliament addressed the audience that comprised representatives of the Executive Board of the Nursing Order and chief nursing officers from the main public hospitals within the country.
During his keynote speech, Dr Hans Kluge emphasized the key role of nurses and midwives during the pandemic waves and stressed their fundamental contribution to build back fairly and ensure the resilience of our health systems. No matter where one looked, nurses and midwives were and still are at the core of the Covid-19 response. (…) Nurses and midwives have confirmed beyond the call of duty to keep our community safe. They have been one of the strongest defense lines against Covid 19 in the pan-European region.(…) Nurses are not only the key pillar in our health systems, their work is fundamental in our work in achieving universal health coverage, the official stated.
Dr Dašić also highlighted in her virtual intervention the role of nurses and midwives as one of the important pillars of the health systems that are at the forefront of COVID-19 response – providing care and play a critical role in emergency risk reduction, preparedness and response.
The SEEHN director stressed the importance of empowering health professionals with the adequate tools to face emergent threats, resuming some of the most important initiatives focused on strengthening capacities component, such as the one with Project Hope and the most recent CEI-SEEHN initiative “Strong nurses for strong health systems and a healthier world”.
One of the videos developed within the CEI funded project, containing the testimonials of the beneficiaries of the training, was displayed during the speech.
Dr Dašić also underlined the added value of the new WHO Strategic Directions for Nursing and Midwifery 2021-2025 as a comprehensive framework that tackles the current challenges and invited the audience to a reflection exercise on key issues in relation to the future programme of work: The question remains: will it be enough? Is it Applicable? Will it be translatable from the idea to actual policies action to strengthen nursing and midwifery towards Universal Health Coverage and achievement of the SDGs agenda?
In conclusion, the SEEHN director called on the stakeholders to support nurses and midwives so that they are empowered to continue their important work.
The event had a specific panel dedicated to leadership in nursing, during which Dr Howard Catton, CEO of the International Council of Nurses, Dr Rivka Hazan Hazoref, Director of the WHO Collaborative Centre for Leadership and Governance in Nursing and Professor Thomas Kearns, Executive Director of the Faculty of Nursing and Midwives from the RCSI Dublin, addressed the audience.