Every year, the International Council of Nurses chooses a theme for International Nurses Day, celebrated on 12 May, the birthday of Florence Nightingale. For the past two years we have celebrated the voice of nursing with the theme Nurses: A Voice to Lead. In 2017, we discussed the role of the nursing voice in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, and in 2018, we looked at the human right to health. This year, we look at the nursing voice from the standpoint of Health for All.

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 (p. 20) 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 (p. 6), 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. And nurses, who are closest to the patient, are also helping to bring their voice to the policy table. The first ever UN High-Level Meeting (HLM) on Universal Health Coverage (UHC) will be held during the 2019 United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). This is an opportunity for nursing to let our voice be heard. We need to be prepared, and this resource and evidence document will help nurses around the globe understand the various aspects of universal health coverage and the role of nurses. ICN believes that nurses, as part of a multidisciplinary team, can create health systems that take into account the social, economic, cultural and political determinants of health.

We can address health inequalities and, through a refocusing on health promotion and illness prevention, using a population health approach, we can improve the health of everyone everywhere. And finally, we believe that the time is ripe for nurses to assert their leadership. As the largest health profession across the world, working in all areas where health care is provided, nursing has vast potential and value if appropriately harnessed to finally achieve the vision of Health for All.

Annette Kennedy
President International Council of Nurses

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