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Could 600,000 nurses help Make Poverty History?

June 24, 2005 -- Today the Daily Mail (U.K.) ran a short, unsigned piece about the Royal College of Nursing's support for the Make Poverty History campaign. The RCN reportedly stressed the link between ill health and poverty, and it called for the G8 to help developing nations train and retain their health staff, in order to stem the "exodus" that has crippled many health systems, especially in Africa. The RCN reportedly has plans for rallies in London and Edinburgh in connection with the G8 Summit at Gleneagles (Scotland) in early July.

The Make Poverty History campaign aims to pressure the Group of 8 nations (the U.K., France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Canada, the U.S., and Japan) to improve the lives of those in the developing world. The article notes that in addition to asking the G8 to help poor nations develop self-sufficient health services, the RCN also wants recruitment of health workers by all nations, including the UK and the U.S., to follow "acceptable guidelines so developing nations do not suffer shortages of staff." The RCN reportedly argues that tackling poverty will require that the G8 urgently address the exodus of nurses and physicians from developing nations, and the piece includes quotes from RCN general secretary Dr. Beverly Malone to that effect. Malone is also quoted as calling for an end to "back-door recruiting," where nurses from developing nations work first in the private sector, then move to the U.K.'s National Health Service, thus evading restrictions on active recruitment by the NHS. The piece reports that at least 7,000 nurses have come to the U.K. from the developing world in the last two years, and that the World Bank estimates that sub-Saharan Africa now has a shortage of 600,000 nurses.

We thank the Daily Mail for this piece "Nurses: G8 'must help poor nations'" highlighting the RCN's global patient advocacy.

We urge all nurses, students and nursing supporters to tell your national leaders about the important role of nurses in ending world poverty. To mark the occasion of the upcoming G8 conference, we urge you to see the compelling love story "The Girl in the Cafe." See the synopsis or click here for movie times on HBO or international areas. Learn more about the UN Development Millennium Goals.

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