JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Jamaica began its year-long celebration of nurses and midwives, with the launch of the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife on January 31, a global initiative to highlight the value of the caregivers.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) declared 2020 as the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, in honour of the bicentenary of the birth of the founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale.
  • The designation was proposed to the WHO Assembly and Executive Board in Geneva, Switzerland, in January 2019 by the Jamaican delegation on behalf of Health and Wellness Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, and was later endorsed at the 72nd WHO Assembly in May 2019.

Jamaica began its year-long celebration of nurses and midwives, with the launch of the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife on January 31, a global initiative to highlight the value of the caregivers.

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared 2020 as the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, in honour of the bicentenary of the birth of the founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale.

The designation was proposed to the WHO Assembly and Executive Board in Geneva, Switzerland, in January 2019 by the Jamaican delegation on behalf of Health and Wellness Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, and was later endorsed at the 72nd WHO Assembly in May 2019.

In his speech, read at the launch by Director of Policy Analysis and Research in the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Rowena Palmer, at the Pegasus Hotel, Permanent Secretary, Dunstan Bryan, said that the global designation has been fully endorsed by the Ministry.

“The year will be used to highlight the enormous sacrifices and the contributions of the nurses and midwives, and we are excited at the prospect of the series of activities, coordinated through the Office of the Chief Nurse, to commemorate this important milestone,” he said.

“Nurses account for the majority of technical human resources in the public health sector and the sector is all the more better because of the hard work and dedication of the 4,051 nurses and midwives,” the Permanent secretary added.

Mr. Bryan hailed the health care professionals for their contribution to the country’s health sector, such as their successes in priority areas, including improved immunisation coverage; sustaining the fight against non-communicable and communicable diseases and for the decrease in infant, child and maternal mortality.

Nurses and midwives, he said, play a key role in universal health and primary care renewal, and “we must strengthen the nursing leadership capabilities, as the experienced nurse leaders are frequently lost to migration, making it difficult to realise succession planning.”

Mr. Bryan said it is of paramount importance that leadership among nurses and midwives lean on each other for support, to ensure that both internal and external customers are satisfied.

The Permanent Secretary pointed out that leadership development will be a main focus of the Ministry for 2020, and that there are plans to expand nursing programmes.

The International Year of the Nurse and Midwife is being observed locally under the theme: ‘Nurse and Midwife; Vital to the Delivery of Healthcare’.

Activities will include a ‘Think Tank’ on the future of nurses and midwives in Jamaica; Health Fairs for the nurses and midwives, an Expo, a Research Conference, Mary Seacole Lecture, and a charity fundraiser walk.