To continue the Filipino Nurses’ commitment to Planetary health caused by climate change, and celebrate the Filipino nurses’ diaspora, hundreds of Filipino nurses from different parts of the world converged in Boracay, Aklan on 21-22 January 2020 to participate in the 2020 Filipino Nurses Global Summit and International Nursing Conference at the Henann Regency Convention Center. The Nursing Summit was attended by around 300 representatives from Afghanistan, Australia, Guam, Korea, Malaysia, United Arab Emirates, United States of America and the Philippines.

Under the theme, “The Planet is our Patient: Nurses Leading Transformative Climate Action and Developing Resilient Communities,” the conference focused on the practical applications on how to address the vulnerabilities and effects climate change has on local and global health of those mostly affected in coastal countries.

The conference was opened by a parade of nations of the delegates. It was followed by the welcome remarks of the presidents/heads of the summit conveners namely, the Philippine Nurses Association of America, Inc. (PNAA), Philippine Nurses Association, Inc. (PNA), Association of Deans of Philippine Colleges of Nursing (ADPCN) and the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO).

CFO Undersecretary Astravel Pimentel – Naik, in her welcome remarks, commended the Filipino nurses for being the most sought after around the world because of their skill, dynamism, professionalism, perseverance and above all compassion. She also appreciated the PNAA for unselfishly committing their time and generously sharing their expertise to nurses in the Philippines through the Balik-Turo project.

Usec. Naik delivering her welcome remarks

The conference had an array of proficient keynote speakers and resource persons. World Health Organization Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health Director Dr. Maria Neira delivered a video welcome with a most challenging message of commitment to working on the survival of planet earth and to global health. The keynote, entitled, “Climate Change as an Emergency: Implications on the Preventive and Emergency Health Approaches in the Philippines,” was delivered by Director Emmanuel Luna of the UP Resilience Institute. Internationally renowned experts led by Lorenzo Guinto, MD, DrPH, Chief Planetary Health Doctor PH Lab, Doctor of Public Health Fellow, Harvard University gave presentations demonstrating the realities of the devastating effects of climate change on the environment and resulting climate sensitive communicable and non-communicable diseases; resilience of health care facilities who transitioned to the green environment; role of nurses and clinicians for a healthy population.

Ceremonial signing of the Declaration by the summit organizers

Concluding the conference is the ceremonial signing of the Declaration Calling for Global and Transformational Actions by Ms. Madelyn D. Yu, PNAA President, Dr. Erlinda C. Palaganas, PNA President, Dr. Mary Grace C. Lacanaria, ADPCN President and CFO Secretary Francisco P. Acosta, represented by Undersecretary Astravel Pimentel – Naik. The Declaration sealed the collaborative partnerships among the government and NGO sectors to harness the potential of Filipino nurses (both domestic and global) to provide for competent and sustainable health work force that is able to contribute significantly to the attainment of universal quality health care and the development of the country.