Bridging the gaps for health: The GAPFON report

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The first phase of the work of GAPFON—the Global Advisory Panel on the Future of Nursing—is complete and this is marked by an 80‐page main report with appendices identifying and confirming global health and professional priorities, the GAPFON model reflecting these, and the strategies designed to meet them. GAPFON was an initiative of Sigma Theta Tau International, led by Hester Klopper, formerly President of Sigma Theta Tau International and Martha Hill, Dean Emeritus of Johns Hopkins School of Nursing. The purpose of GAPFON (2017) is to: “establish a voice and vision for the future of midwifery that will advance global health while simultaneously strengthening professional roles” (p. 3).
Contextualising the work of GAPFON, the report laments how “inaudible” nurses and midwives’ opinions are, despite being the largest group of employees in the healthcare workforce. Often, we are disunited, and this raises problems for us in “positioning nurses and midwives as leaders in contributing to global health” (GAPFON, 2017, p. 8). After briefly describing the highly inclusive and representative GAPFON processes, the report gets to the Regional Results pages very quickly. As a framework to compare, contrast and present the results from the seven regions of the world the results were weighted to see how closely they aligned with global health issues under the five priorities of: non‐communicable and chronic disease; mental health, communicable disease; disaster preparation; and mother and child health. In addition, GAPFON identified: ageing; health inequality; migration and refugees; HIV/AIDS; tuberculosis; new/emerging infections; and antibiotic resistance as “areas of concern”.
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