Nurses will be central to the debate at the 51st Union World Conference on Lung Health

Conference News 14 Oct 2020

2020 is the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife. In recognition of the vital role nurses play in providing health services across the globe, The Union is making sure nurses have a voice at the forthcoming 51st Union World Conference on Lung Health, taking place virtually for the first time, next week, 20-24 October 2020. Here are two of the many voices that need to be heard.

Elizabeth IroElizabeth Iro was trained as a nurse and midwife and is the World Health Organization’s Chief Nursing Officer, based in Geneva, Switzerland.

Elizabeth is from the Cook Islands, where she previously served as the Secretary of Health, implementing legislative reforms to strengthen the country’s health system and developing national health strategic plans. She was the first nurse/midwife and woman to be appointed to this role in the Cook Islands.

Elizabeth is speaking in the Union World Conference’s 3rd Plenary: Striving for Universal Health Coverage, which will be held on Friday, 23 October, 14:00-15:00 CEST/08:00-09:00 EST. Elizabeth, and other key speakers will discuss how we move toward the goal of Universal Health Coverage by developing resilient, responsive and inclusive health systems based on strong, people-centred primary health care, informed by the best available evidence, with civil society and vulnerable communities at the heart of the response. Elizabeth will specifically address how nurses are intrinsically linked and well placed to play a key role in achieving Universal Health Coverage.

Nurse and tuberculosis (TB) survivor Divya Sojan, from India, will speak at the Union World Conference’s Opening Ceremony about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on those affected by TB in her country, ensuring the voices of survivors are central in the conversation about the fight to end TB.

Divya SojanDivya has worked as a nurse for 11 years, and during this time has had TB three times. Her unique and traumatic experience of TB treatment, leaving her with mild hearing and vision loss, gives her great empathy for the people she treats. She also has valuable insight into the discrimination and stigma she suffered.

She says: “I know how important it is to talk with love and care to each patient, to support and provide information on their treatment. I understand how it feels to be hopeless and worthless. I learned the value of being heard.”

The Union World Conference will make sure the voices of nurses are heard throughout its programme. The fully searchable conference programme is also now available on the conference platform. Nurses are involved in oral abstract and poster sessions, as well as symposia and a dedicated Meet the Expert session featuring The Union’s Nurses and Allied Professionals Sub-section (NAPS), regarding the use of technology to give remote support to patients during times of COVID-19. NAPS represents nurses, health educators and other allied professionals dedicated to ending TB.

This year the registration fee for all nurses, from anywhere in the world, has been fixed at €49. If you are a nurse, please register to join the debate and to celebrate the work of nurses and midwives across the world.

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