Celebrating 27 years of uniting nurses


International Relations

International Relations


DENOSA has a long history of working with international organisations on behalf of its members and the nursing profession in South Africa, to advance health policies locally, regionally and internationally as well as to develop its own leaders. Our overall objective with our international relations work is to support global health equity, and implement the organisation’s strategic objectives.

For more than 24 years, DENOSA has worked with a number of national nursing associations (NNAs) abroad, to build partnerships, increase organisational capacities, strengthen the nursing profession, and improve the quality of nursing and health services, and to inform and influence South Africa’s position on global health and nursing issues.

In recognizing the importance of international activism, the organisation remains committed to fostering global unity amongst health professionals, NNAs and other progressive international organizations. We do this to advocate for quality, fair, just and equal healthcare for all. Through its engagement at various international platforms, DENOSA contributes in health policy forums, towards building effective global
health systems, and building coherent international programmes. International work facilitates opportunities for DENOSA to work towards regional integration of NNAs, creating new forms of communication and interaction, building cross-border networks and linkages, and as such democratizing internationalism.

DENOSA’s international Vision and Agenda

Because nurses are spread globally in various work settings, DENOSA’s international relations are not confined to the current affiliated organisations alone.

The organisation’s current international relations provides opportunities to engage with like-minded professionals and organisations. The struggles we fight locally are connected to the struggles fought internationally, and as such DENOSA must be guided by local and global trends towards achieving its international vision and agenda. Sharing knowledge and expertise to ensure greater cohesion of international work across national nursing associations, with particular focus on regional NNAs.

Building a progressive globally recognized organisation.

Encourage a sense of unity amongst NNAs.
Influence global health policy.


DENOSA’s affiliation with international organisations dates as far back as 1997. The International Council of Nurses was the first body to admit DENOSA internationally, following the ushering in of a democratic government in South Africa in May 1994. The organisation continues to hold many critical strategic positions in the international nursing space, which shapes the form and content of our international work. Relations with progressive organisations are an important mechanism for the advancement of DENOSA’s international agenda and vision.

We approach our international relations work by building a strong and progressive internationally recognized organisation, promoting and defending nurses’ rights globally, through effective participation on global campaigns and programmes; by bringing expertise and representatives of nursing, through strengthening networks and partnering on programmes through collaborations with global nursing bodies.

International Council of Nurses (ICN)
The ICN is an independent, non-partisan, non-governmental federation of more than 130 national nurses’ organisations (NNAs), with its headquarters based in Geneva, Switzerland. It is the world’s first and widest reaching international organisation for health professionals. ICN is operated by nurses and leads nurses/ nursing internationally. It works to ensure quality nursing care for all, sound health policies globally. To advance nursing knowledge, and ensures the presence of a competent nursing profession globally.

ICN operates under three pillars

  • Professional Nursing Practice
  • Nursing Regulation
  • Socio-Economic Welfare for Nurses

The aim of DENOSA’s participation within ICN is:
– To represent South Africa’s nursing profession;
– To engage on critical policy matters in line with the country’s health agenda, engage in discussions as outlined on the ICN agenda;
– Participate in debates with fellow members within ICN; and
– Assist ICN with research content in relation to nursing in South Africa, when requested by ICN; DENOSA has voting powers within the Council of National Representatives (CNR) structure of ICN. We participate in ICN congresses, training programmes, meetings, campaigns and other events that may arise within the ICN.

ICN website: www.icn.ch

  • Commonwealth Nurses and Midwives Federation (CNMF),

The Commonwealth Nurses and Midwifery Federation is an organisation of National Nurses
Associations in the Commonwealth Countries. The CNMF works with its membership of national nursing bodies to influence health policy, develop nursing networks, improve nursing standards, and competence, and strengthen nursing leadership through the Commonwealth. The CNMF conducts education and training workshops in Commonwealth countries, supports national nursing and midwifery organisations to develops their potential to lobby and influence policy and government decisions in their respective countries. DENOSA has voting rights with the CNMF structure. DENOSA represents the views of South African nursing in line with the national nursing agenda, and presents topics and shares expertise on the platform of meetings within the CNMF.

Public Services International (PSI)

The Public Services International is a global trade union federation representing 20 million workers, in more than 150 countries and has 669 affiliates. Its headquarters are based in Geneva, Switzerland. PSI works in social services, health care, municipal services, and central government.
Affiliates meet in Congress every five years to elect its leadership. DENOSA IS REPRESENTED IN THE Africa and Arab region of PSI. The Sub-Regional office of PSI affiliates is based in South Africa, Johannesburg. DENOSA’s participations within PSI is to advocate for the rights of the health care professionals. To engage in global labour relations matters and articulate the struggles of South Africa’s workforce. DENOSA forms part of the leadership with the Public Services International

East Central and Southern Africa College of Nurses (ECSACON)

The East, Central and Southern Africa College of Nursing (ECSACON) is a professional body of nurses and midwives in the East, Central and Southern Regions of Africa. The region is made up of fourteen (14) member countries. ECSACON is a coordinating body anchored in the Human Resources and Capacity building programmes of the EAST, Central and Southern African Health Community Secretariat. The Council of National Representatives (CNR) is the highest decision-making structure of ECSACON. DENOSA sits in this structure and participates in all decision-making processes. The focus of ECSACON is nursing education, practice, research leadership and management. It speaks on
issues that affects the nursing and midwifery profession in the region, and to respond to changing
health needs within the region.

Southern African Network of Nurses (SANNAM)

The Southern African Network of Nurses (SANNAM) is a network of nurses and midwives of the Southern Development Community (SADC) region, which was formed in 2002. SANNAM consists of 15 member countries, representing two hundred thousand nurses and midwives in the SADC region.

The headquarters are based in South Africa, Pretoria, within the DENOSA premises. The work of the organisation is focused on all nursing issues affecting and impacted on the profession in the region.Stregnthen NNA’s through capacity building, networking and sharing experiences of best
practices. DENOSA sits in the executive committee structure of SANNAM and participates in all decision-making processes.

Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU)
DENOSA’s affiliation to COSATU dates back as early as 1996 and participates in all structures, campaigns, activities of the federation. DENOSA has voting rights in all structures of the federation, namely the Central Executive Committee (CEC), Central Committee (CC) and during the National Congress.

COSATU is focused on advancing the socio-economic interests of workers and to improve the working conditions by participating fully in policy and legislation formulations, stakeholder engagement in advocating for the protection on workers.
Website: www.cosatu.org.za

BRICS Nurses Forum
The BRICS Nurses forum is a formation of the BRICS Countries Nursing Associations. Its focus is to build capacity within the NNA’s through creating exchange programmes, share best practices and build a strong network amongst the nurses of the BRICS, as well as to strengthen the health systems to respond to the needs of its communities. The work of the forum seeks to align and feed into the BRICS Health Ministers structure.

For other international enquiries please contact: – Heather Sam