Ciciams News Nouvelles         December 2010 décembre                           2010/4 

a.  WHO Report January 18-23 January 2010

The address of the Direct-General-Dr Margaret Chan was mainly on the

subject of the Haitian earthquake which had happened a few days

earlier. She spoke of the massive loss of lives, the horrendous

injuries experienced by many survivors and the total destrution of so

many homes and buildings including the Medical and Nursing faculties

within the University and the response of WHO to this disaster. She

also spoke of the need of all member countries to respond to the call

for help for this the poorest country in the Western hemisphere.

Dr Chan went on to congratulate all those countries who cooperated

with information and vaccine sharing during the pandemic outbreak of

Swine Flu and the need to continue this preparedness in sharing

resources in the event of further pandemic outbreaks. Many other world

health issues were also highlighted in Dr Chan's address.

I was fortunate to be meeting with Dr Jean Yan , Chief Nurse Scientist

about CICIAMS collaboration plans, and I was invited to take part in a

brainstorming session to initiate the immediate, medium and longterm

nursing needs in Haiti. This included a two way link with the WHO

Chief Nurse of the Caribbean Islands who was coordinating the nursing

teams in Haiti. She gave an update on the situation and the immediate

help needed. She informed us that although the Nursing Faculty in the

University had been destroyed, the Nursing College was operational but

with little in the way of equipment such as dressings and bandages. She

told us that while the staff had set up a receiving centre for the

wounded many of the students were out begging for dressings and

bandages in the surrounding areas.

It was an uplifting and emotional experience to be part of this

session and to hear from all the Heads of the Nursing and Midwifery

departments at WHO what would be attempted in the immediate, medium and

long term to meet the health needs of the people of Haiti. It gave me

an insight into the tremendous work of WHO.

I was delighted to be informed that our plans for collaboration with

WHO for 2010-2012 had been approved so our status as NGO in WHO is

assured until 2012 when our next submission will be due. I hope this

will encourage all members to inform CICIAMS of  all the good work they

are involved in so that our status in this organisation will continue

for many years.

Isa Wilson-Delegate

b.   Report from CNGN



On July 24th 2009 the RCN chose to adopt a stance of neutrality on assisted suicide following a 3 month consultation of members February – May 2009. Earlier in July the BMA had reaffirmed its 2006 change of stance from neutral to one of opposing assisted suicide arguing that ‘legalized assisted suicide could put unreasonable pressure on the most vulnerable members of our society to accept it. Whilst the consultation mostly conducted online had reached about 175,000 members out of a total of around 400,000 members the RCN decision was based on a response of only 1,200 members. 49% (588) of respondents had supported assisted suicide, 40% (480) opposed assisted suicide and the remaining opted for a neutral stance. There is too little evidence that the survey response accurately reflects the views of the majority of members of the RCN. The RCN Policy Briefing Document of April 2009 had already stated ‘Assisted suicide is illegal in England and Wales under the 1961 Suicide Act which makes it unlawful to aid, abet, counsel or procure the suicide of another’. In September 2009 Keir Starmer produced guidance on factors that could be taken into account when a decision to prosecute or not prosecute is made and pointed out assisted suicide remains illegal and carries a jail term of up to 14 years so there can be no guarantee that relatives assisting will not be prosecuted. As nurses we should be asking what drives individuals and their relatives to consider an option of assisted suicide? Is there a lack of support or service provision that contributes to such a decision by people who may be worn out and unable to make a fully rational decision ? The Catholic agency Caritas Social Action Network (CSAN) has recently produced a DVD raising awareness of the spiritual needs of people with dementia. Relatives of mentally alert elderly, who through failing physical health find themselves unable to speak or fully communicate their needs might also find this DVD useful.

For more articles of Catholic Nurses Journal, refer to the following link:


CICIAMS General Secretariat, St. Mary's, Bloomfield Avenue, Donnybrook, Dublin 4.  IRELAND