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Opinion

Iro leaves ‘big shoes to be filled’

Monday 16 October 2017 | Written by Rashneel Kumar | Published in Local

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Iro leaves ‘big shoes to be filled’
Health minister Nandi Glassie (pictured in parliament) says Iro's appointment is a proud moment for him. 17101328

The Ministry of Health is yet to decide on replacement of its secretary Elizabeth Iro, who has taken up a role with the World Health Organisation (WHO). She was appointed to the post of chief nursing officer by the WHO director-general, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu, during the 68th Session of the WHO Regional Committee for the Western Pacific in Brisbane, Australia this week. Congratulating Iro on her appointment, health minister Nandi Glassie said she was leaving behind big shoes to fill. “Liz’s (Iro) appointment as chief nurse for WHO is a proud moment for me as Minister of Health, for the Cook Islands’ people, the Pacific region and of course the nursing profession,” Glassie said. “It has always been our hope to have our people, from within the Pacific region, to participate and be heard at the global level. Liz has accommodated that hope. “I am proud of Liz and I wish her and her family every success in her new post. She has left behind big shoes to be filled.” Iro is a New Zealand-registered nurse and midwife with a master’s degree in Business Administration and a master’s degree in Health Science. She took over the secretary’s role with the health ministry in 2012. A former local chief nursing officer, Iro has worked to meet the health needs of the people of the Cook Islands and the Pacific since graduating as a nurse in 1981 and midwife in 1986. She has been a close colleague and friend of the WHO Collaborating Centre at the University of Technology Sydney (CC UTS) and a long-standing member of the South Pacific Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officers Alliance since its inception in the Cook Islands in 2004. Iro said she was honoured and humbled to be appointed the chief nursing officer of WHO. She acknowledges the privilege and understand the important opportunity this presents for encouraging better collaboration and coordination to improving health outcomes for the people within the region and globally. “I think this appointment is going to be raising the profile of nursing and midwifery and I anticipate it will be encouraging and enabling for nurses to work to their full potential if countries are to achieve universal health coverage,” Iro said. “I bring to this role my lived experience as a woman, a mother, a nurse and midwife, a past president of Nurses Association and Head of a Ministry of Health. “Nursing can and must take the lead on issues to progress to better health outcome for our people but I know we cannot achieve them without the support of politicians, policy-makers and non-nursing health leaders.” Iro said she will need to understand some of the internal mechanisms and structures that can best support the work in progressing the WHO agenda especially towards the social goal of “health for all” through primary health care and Universal Health Coverage. Health ministry in a statement said their management and staff were very proud of Iro’s achievement. “She has been the driving force to ensuring the ministry obtains and retains the Excellence Service Award from the Public Service Commission. The Ministry of Health has held this award for the past two years,” the statement added. The position of WHO chief nurse has been vacant since 2010 and the reinstatement of this position and the appointment of Iro indicates the value that the new WHO director-general, Dr Tedros holds for the nursing and midwifery professions within the organisation.

The Ministry of Health is yet to decide on replacement of its secretary Elizabeth Iro, who has taken up a role with the World Health Organisation (WHO). She was appointed to the post of chief nursing officer by the WHO director-general, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu, during the 68th Session of the WHO Regional Committee for the Western Pacific in Brisbane, Australia this week. Congratulating Iro on her appointment, health minister Nandi Glassie said she was leaving behind big shoes to fill. “Liz’s (Iro) appointment as chief nurse for WHO is a proud moment for me as Minister of Health, for the Cook Islands’ people, the Pacific region and of course the nursing profession,” Glassie said. “It has always been our hope to have our people, from within the Pacific region, to participate and be heard at the global level. Liz has accommodated that hope. “I am proud of Liz and I wish her and her family every success in her new post. She has left behind big shoes to be filled.” Iro is a New Zealand-registered nurse and midwife with a master’s degree in Business Administration and a master’s degree in Health Science. She took over the secretary’s role with the health ministry in 2012. A former local chief nursing officer, Iro has worked to meet the health needs of the people of the Cook Islands and the Pacific since graduating as a nurse in 1981 and midwife in 1986. She has been a close colleague and friend of the WHO Collaborating Centre at the University of Technology Sydney (CC UTS) and a long-standing member of the South Pacific Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officers Alliance since its inception in the Cook Islands in 2004. Iro said she was honoured and humbled to be appointed the chief nursing officer of WHO. She acknowledges the privilege and understand the important opportunity this presents for encouraging better collaboration and coordination to improving health outcomes for the people within the region and globally. “I think this appointment is going to be raising the profile of nursing and midwifery and I anticipate it will be encouraging and enabling for nurses to work to their full potential if countries are to achieve universal health coverage,” Iro said. “I bring to this role my lived experience as a woman, a mother, a nurse and midwife, a past president of Nurses Association and Head of a Ministry of Health. “Nursing can and must take the lead on issues to progress to better health outcome for our people but I know we cannot achieve them without the support of politicians, policy-makers and non-nursing health leaders.” Iro said she will need to understand some of the internal mechanisms and structures that can best support the work in progressing the WHO agenda especially towards the social goal of “health for all” through primary health care and Universal Health Coverage. Health ministry in a statement said their management and staff were very proud of Iro’s achievement. “She has been the driving force to ensuring the ministry obtains and retains the Excellence Service Award from the Public Service Commission. The Ministry of Health has held this award for the past two years,” the statement added. The position of WHO chief nurse has been vacant since 2010 and the reinstatement of this position and the appointment of Iro indicates the value that the new WHO director-general, Dr Tedros holds for the nursing and midwifery professions within the organisation.


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