GCU opens WHO global health conference

28 July 2016

GCU opens WHO global health conference

Professor Fiona McQueen, Scotland's Chief Nursing Officer, spoke of the important contribution of the academic community to global health care at the opening of a midwifery and nursing conference for global healthcare leaders and practitioners.

Bringing together representatives of the Global Network of World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centres for Nursing and Midwifery, the theme of the 11th Biennial Conference, hosted by GCU this week (July 28 and 29), is ‘Strategic Conversations: The contribution of Nursing & Midwifery towards Global Health’.

Professor McQueen praised GCU for producing "some of the finest graduates in nursing and midwifery in Scotland". 

Principal and Vice-Chancellor Professor Pamela Gillies CBE FRSE gave a welcome address, joining Chief Nursing Officer Professor Fiona McQueen, Dr Jim Campbell, Director of Human Resources for Health at the WHO, and Professor John Daly, Secretary General of the Global Network WHO Collaborating Centres.

Dr Campbell highlighted the challenges set by the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), specifically how far the international health community must go to overcome the health issues of an ageing population, increasing migration, global health crises such as Ebola, and non-communicable diseases. He said that strengthening the nursing and midwifery workforce is critical to attainment of the SDGs.     

Led by Professor Kay Currie, GCU’s work in this area includes identifying models of good nursing and midwifery practice, research to support evidence-informed decision making, strengthening nursing education at national, regional and global levels, and adopting best practice approaches. 

Delegates will debate the directions and challenges midwives and nurses will face between now and 2030. Subjects being explored at the conference include innovation in nursing and midwifery practice towards health for all; the contribution of research and evidence-based practice to health care; international approaches to transforming nursing and midwifery education; and midwifery developments.

Professor Currie said: “GCU has been a WHO Collaborating Centre for nursing and midwifery since 1993 and we are delighted to be hosting this major international conference. We have delegates registered from over 21 countries from around the world and this interactive conference presents an excellent opportunity for nursing and midwifery leaders to engage in discussion and debate on how we can influence the direction of global health development.”

Michele Rumsey, Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre at the University of Technology, Sydney, which is Secretariat of the Global Network, said: “By 2030 we will need 40 million new health workers to meet population health needs. This conference and support meetings are crucial for the strategic conversations required to address workforce 2030, SDGs and universal health coverage.”