Nursing development and opportunity

Jill Iliffe

Since 1973, the Commonwealth Nurses Federation has worked tirelessly to improve health care around the Commonwealth by offering support and training to nurses and midwives.

The Commonwealth Nurses Federation (CNF) is proud of its Commonwealth heritage and the association’s shared values of democracy, human rights and good governance. To highlight its Commonwealth links, the CNF hosted an inaugural Commonwealth Nurses Conference in London on 10-11 March 2012. The conference was held at the Royal Commonwealth Society where nearly 200 delegates from 25 countries explored the theme of ‘Our Health: Our Common Wealth’ through keynote speakers, presentations and over 50 papers contributed from nurses and midwives across the Commonwealth. Due to the success of this inaugural conference, it is anticipated that from 2012, the CNF biennial meeting of members will be combined with the Commonwealth Nurses Conference, and will become a highlight of Commonwealth Week.

Earlier this year, the CNF welcomed two impressive young nurses from Cameroon as Commonwealth Fellows. The new fellowship programme, administered by the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission, provides a unique opportunity for candidates from developing countries to pursue short-term educational and training opportunities in the United Kingdom. Tita Pale Isa Ndognjem and Clarisse Bombi Lamnyam have been actively involved in nursing and in their local professional association, as well as pursuing further education and volunteering in Cameroon. Their fellowship will enable them to enhance their leadership, organisational and communication skills.

The CNF works in individual Commonwealth countries to address specific health needs. At present, Sierra Leone has the worst maternal and child mortality rates in the Commonwealth – and the lowest number of health workers – but it is actively working to meet the Millennium Development Goals to improve these figures. In partnership with the Sierra Leone Nurses Association, and funded by the Burdett Trust for Nursing, a UKbased charity focused on empowering nurses and improving patient care, the CNF is conducting a series of maternal health ‘updates’ for nurses and midwives across the country. These short courses, which cover contemporary practices in maternal and child health care relevant to developing countries, are being conducted in five districts around Sierra Leone throughout 2012.

About the author:

Jill Iliffe is Executive Secretary of the Commonwealth Nurses Federation


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