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World must act to protect nurses

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World leaders have been called on to give greater protection to nurses working with infectious diseases by the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care and the Health Action AIDS Campaign.

The organisations have drawn up a bill of rights that seeks to increase workplace laws worldwide to minimise the risk to nurses from life-threatening diseases. The bill, endorsed by the International Council of Nurses, was presented last week at a human rights conference in Mexico.

Pat Daoust, director of the Health Action AIDS campaign and a US registered nurse, said: ‘Nurses constitute 70% of the health workforce in almost every country. Unfortunately the well-being of nurses is often neglected, especially in many developing countries.

‘If we are serious about building strong healthcare systems, it’s time we address the safety and care of the key people who deliver these services,’ she said.

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