Red Cross Red Crescent launches the Nursing Network

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Geneva (IFRC) – Geneva, May 05, 2011

Red Cross Red Crescent launches the Nursing Network On the occasion of the International Council of Nurses (ICN) taking place in Malta from 2-8 May 2011, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is proud to announce the launch of the Red Cross Red Crescent nursing colleges’ network allowing representatives of such institutes to meet for the first time. The satellite event will set up mechanisms for exploring closer ties between the 30 Red Cross Red Crescent nursing and midwifery training institutions delivering nursing education and also agree on a declaration of a network agenda that links in with the Strategy 2020 goals.

The Japanese and Swedish Red Cross will also present the outcome of a joint study released recently in the scientific programme of the ICN congress. Panu Saaristo, IFRC senior emergency health officer, said: “The objective of the study was to get a clear idea to what extent nurses’ competences are utilized within National Societies and to identify National Societies who are running nursing education programmes worldwide.”

From its inception, the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement has worked towards assisting vulnerable people through health and care. Red Cross Red Crescent nurses, as health care professionals who are often closest to a situation, have been ready to respond to public health threats in different settings.

Ann Gardulf, the vice chancellor of the Red Cross University College, Stockholm, Sweden, said nurses were often in the front line during difficult times. “Today, Red Cross Red Crescent nurses are braving ever more challenging global health threats of the 21st century. Confronted with large scale natural disasters, armed conflicts, unprecedented civil uprising, infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria and other more neglected ones, and the impact of climate change on health, their tireless efforts are priceless,” she said.

Today, there are 30 Red Cross Red Crescent nursing and midwifery colleges around the world. These colleges are driven by the spirit of the Red Cross Red Crescent fundamental principles – Humanity, Impartiality, Neutrality, Independence, Voluntary Services, Unity and Universality – values that become even more meaningful during times of turmoil.

Nursing as part of a professional humanitarian response constitutes the backbone of health care and plays an important part in protecting the physical, psychological and social health of people all over the world.

According to Hiroshi Higashiura, Professor at the Japanese Red Cross College of Nursing, the students of the network are urged to ‘act locally, think globally’. “We hope that we will be able to create a worldwide network of Red Cross Red Crescent nursing colleges that will promote leadership, broad knowledge, profound insight, pragmatism and ability to act according to circumstances anywhere in the world. We will keep making efforts to advance nursing education ensuring it its more appropriate and more universal,” he said.

David Benton, CEO of the International Council of Nurses, welcomes the creation of such a network. “We need to work together to ensure a global nursing workforce is ready to respond in the event of emergencies. Quality competencies are essential and such effective response cannot happen without the major role played by the Red Cross Red Crescent nursing colleges’ network,” he said. About the ICN The International Council of Nurses (ICN) is a federation of more than 130 national nurses associations representing the millions of nurses worldwide. Operated by nurses and leading nursing internationally, ICN works to ensure quality care for all and sound health policies globally. About the IFRC The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is the world's largest volunteer-based humanitarian network, reaching 150 million people each year through our 186 member National Societies. Together, we act before, during and after disasters and health emergencies to meet the needs and improve the lives of vulnerable people. We do so with impartiality as to nationality, race, gender, religious beliefs, class and political opinions. We work to improve humanitarian standards, as partners in development and in response to disasters. The result: we enable healthy and safe communities, reduce vulnerabilities, strengthen resilience and foster a culture of peace around the world. The IFRC, our 186 National Societies and the International Committee of the Red Cross together constitute the International Red Cross Red Crescent Movement. For more information, please visit You can also connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.

For further information, please contact In Geneva: Sadia Kaenzig – IFRC senior adviser, health communications +41 79 2173386,