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February 21 2020

Nursery and midwifery challenges and the leadership capacity of these disciplines must be strengthened at a national, regional & international level. This was the call from participants at the inaugural Pacific Heads of Nursing & Midwifery Meeting (PHoNM) held from the 11-14th of February in Nadi.

Thirteen Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs) attended the PHoNM alongside nursing stakeholders and regional and international partners.

Some of the key areas discussed for nursing and midwifery workforce in the region included, mobility of workforce between countries especially during health emergencies; primary health care and universal health coverage, nursing education and nursing regulation.

Chair for the PHoNM and Head Nurse of Moorea Hospital in French Polynesia Ms. Lys Nguyen said, “Nurses are the heartbeat of the communities, workforce and discussions this week. We work for the people and we are finally coming together as a unified voice to face up to the challenges of SDGs and health.”

In some Pacific Island Countries & Territories, nurses and midwives make up 75% of the health workforce and are usually the first responders during any emergency event. Nurses and midwives play an important role in Primary Health Care and Universal Health Coverage. 

Mabel Taoi, Project Coordinator for Clinical Services Program at SPC’s Public Health Division says that this meeting is a milestone for the region. “There was no forum for nurses and midwives but now we have a way to influence and drive health priorities and policies in the region.”

The PHoNM meeting is an acknowledgement of the importance of nursing in the Pacific region. It provides an equal platform with the Directors of Clinical Services (DCS) and the Directors of Public Health (DPH) meetings.

Recommendations from the inaugural PHoNM will be presented at the upcoming Heads of Health Meeting in April 2020.

The PHoNM meeting was organised by SPC with assistance from Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and other key partners including Australian College operating Room Nurses (ACORN), International College of Nurses (ICN), New Zealand Medical Treatment Scheme (NZMTS), Nursing Now, Royal Australian College of Surgeons Pacific Islands Program, UNAIDS, UNICEF, World Bank and WHO.

Media contacts:

Evlyn Mani, Communications Officer, Public Health Division (PHD), Pacific Community (SPC) | evlynm [at] (evlynm[at]spc[dot]int)

About Us:

The Pacific Community has been supporting sustainable development in the Pacific, through science, knowledge and innovation since 1947. It is the principal intergovernmental organization in the region, owned and governed by its 26 member countries and territories.