EFN participating in the 70th WHO Regional Committee for Europe

EFN participating in the 70th WHO Regional Committee for Europe

Posted on September 15, 2020

The EFN has been invited to virtually attend the 70th session of the World Health Organisation Regional Committee for Europe, taking place in Copenhaguen (Denmark) but being broadcast worldwide.

The EFN, in its quality of non-State actor member of WHO Europe, attended the meeting to monitor what WHO Europe plans to do in the benefit of the frontline nursing profession, as well as hearing the Member States’ plans to continue tackling the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, the EFN regrets that civil society organisations and, more concretely, the nursing profession, cannot exercise more active influence into the WHO Europe’s policymaking.

The WHO Europe Director, Hans Kluge, addressed all participants by openly thanking frontline nurses for their hard work during the COVID-19 pandemic. He stressed the very valuable contribution that they make to our healthcare systems, the reason for which he has decided to extend the WHO Year of the Nurse and the Midwife to 2021, too.

The WHO leadership and the Member Stages engaged in a discussion about the European Programme of Work (2020–2025) – “United Action for Better Health in Europe”. This programme was approved during the session. It underlines the need of European citizens to have healthier lives that lead towards an economy of wellbeing. To get there, all Member States need to work together, under the principle of solidarity with each other, and giving attention to mental health, too. Finally, the underlining motto of the new programme is the need of adopting a “Health in All Policies” approach.

Another key topic for discussion was the internal restructuration of the WHO Europe office, towards a more transparent, efficient, and flexible working structure, reducing the number of intermediary leadership positions. This new structuring of the organisation will be more efficient for tackling ongoing challenges, such as coordinated a united response against COVID-19. The EFN welcomes this changes but at the same time regrets that a nurse will not be working by Hans Kluge’s side, in a high-level position. This would had been needed to ensure fit-for-purpose policies and actions, that take into account the needs of the nursing profession.

The next meeting of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe will take place on 14-15 September, also in Copenhaguen (Denmark). The 2022 edition will take place in Tel-Aviv (Israel).

The EFN continues expressing its maximum commitment to continue working with WHO Europe in the representation and benefit of the frontline nursing profession – which is the largest healthcare profession of all, accounting for about 6 million nurses in Europe.