Home | WHPA Press Releases | Global Health Professions Urge Action on H1N1 Pandemic

International Council of Nurses (ICN)
International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP)
World Dental Federation (FDI)
World Medical Association [WMA]




Geneva, Switzerland, 31 August 2009 – A call to action to prepare for an H1N1 pandemic at a country and community level has been issued by the World Health Professions Alliance.

The WHPA, a body that brings together more than 23 million health care professionals worldwide, has endorsed a call to action and a set of key principles to promote operational activities that can be implemented at the country level in response to the continued spread of the H1N1 pandemic.  The principles have been developed by the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.  They are meant to reemphasize some key interventions and directly complement current World Health Organization technical guidance and National Pandemic Influenza plans.  

The Alliance, which unites dentistry, medicine, nursing, and pharmacy through their representative international organisations, the International Council of Nurses, the International Pharmaceutical Federation, the World Dental Federation and the World Medical Association, says these interventions are designed to strengthen and build on existing systems at country level and they call on all partners to integrate these into ongoing programmes.

The priority actions are based on the need for all countries to plan for the worst.  The document says that the future evolution of the pandemic cannot be predicted, but worldwide the overwhelming majority of cases are experiencing only mild symptoms. However, some people, such as pregnant women and people with underlying medical conditions, are at greater risk.  And it warns that the impact of the pandemic is more severe in those countries with weak health systems.

The document calls on countries to identify and prioritise high risk groups, to train health workers to identify symptoms, increase stocks of medical supplies and to educate the community about home care.  It also says that target groups to receive the first doses of vaccination need to be identified and plans should be drawn up for mass vaccination when the vaccine is available.

In a joint statement to mark the call to action, the WHPA says: ‘This "Call to Action" marks an important step in the ongoing and future response to the pandemic (H1N1) and it underscores the critical importance of UN agencies, civil society, NGOs and international bodies working together to ensure countries, particularly those in resource-constrained settings, are prepared to respond to the pandemic and the potential impacts it may have on populations.’  The full text of the ‘Call to Action’ can be found at:


The WHPA was formed between ICN, FDI and WMA in 1999 as a unique alliance to address global health issues, with the secretariat being run from the ICN. The Alliance was pleased to welcome FDI in 2005. The aim of the organisation is to facilitate collaboration between key health professionals and major international stakeholders such as governments, policy makers and the World Health Organization. The Alliance operates under the philosophy that by working in collaboration, instead of along parallel tracks, the patient and health care system benefit.

Editor’s Note:

World Health Professions Alliance (WHPA) (www.whpa.org)
The World Health Professions Alliance brings together dentistry, medicine, nursing, and pharmacy through their representative international organisations, the International Council of Nurses (ICN), the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP), the World Dental Federation(FDI) and the World Medical Association (WMA) and represents more than 20 million health professionals worldwide.


  • The International Council of Nurses (ICN) is a federation of 129 national nurses' associations representing the millions of nurses worldwide.  Operated by nurses for nurses since 1899, ICN is the international voice of nursing and works to ensure quality care for all and sound health policies globally.

  • The International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) is the global federation of the national organisations of pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists.  Pharmacists are health professionals dedicated to improving the access to and value of appropriate medicine use.

  • The World Dental Federation (FDI) is the authoritative, worldwide voice of dentistry with more than 150 member associations in 134 countries around the world, representing more than 900,000 dentists internationally.

  • The World Medical Association (WMA) is the global federation of national medical associations, representing the millions of physicians worldwide.  Acting on behalf of physicians and patients, the WMA endeavours to achieve the highest possible standards of medical science, education, ethics and health care for all people.


For further information contact Linda Carrier-Walker Tel :  +41 22  908 0100;
fax :   +41 22  908 0101;  email:  ; Web site  www.icn.ch 



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