What is GAPFON?

GAPFON seeks to provide evidence on the value of nursing, and to participate in and influence health policy, nursing leadership and practice, education, and the global health agenda. During its first meeting in 2014, the core panel recognized that while nurses and midwives are uniquely positioned to influence global health, the greatest opportunity to meet this challenge is through multi-disciplinary and intersectoral collaboration. Therefore, they recommended expanding GAPFON to include engagement with a network of regional nursing and midwifery leaders around the world to identify strategies and goals to lead this effort. These seven regional meetings took place from June 2015 to July 2016.

Who is GAPFON?

GAPFON is chaired by Hester C. Klopper, PhD, MBA, FANSA, FAAN, Deputy Vice Chancellor, Strategy and Internationalization, Stellenbosch University. The global experts assembled for GAPFON were intentionally selected to ensure diverse experience, expertise, and geography. Each core panel member has agreed to serve with GAPFON for at least two years. A subgroup of the core panel was established as the Advisory Committee to facilitate the work of the initiative on an ongoing basis.

GAPFON Implementation

As depicted in The GAPFON Model, no single group of global health stakeholders can achieve global health independently; all must work collaboratively to attain this ultimate goal. Nurses and midwives share the responsibility for interconnectedness with many stakeholders including educational institutions, governmental and political bodies, other healthcare providers, health systems, regulatory entities and accrediting bodies, trade associations, not-for-profit organizations, non-governmental organizations, the United Nations and the World Health Organization, communities at large, and corporations and foundations. Therefore, partnerships between and among organizations can be developed to create implementation plans that will include recommendations, action steps, and target outcomes to address the strategies put forth by regional stakeholders (see GAPFON Summary Report). Partners will have an interest in, and mission specific to, Leadership, Policy (including Regulation), Practice, Workforce, Education and Research, as they relate to global health and professional issues.  


In 2013, Sigma leadership noted that the evolving healthcare climate pertaining to quality care, and the call for improved global health and universal healthcare, presented a compelling and urgent need for nurses and midwives to have a voice and participate in determining and implementing healthcare changes. Recognizing that nurses and midwives play an enormous part in strengthening health systems, and the need for a cohesive, global approach to proactively address challenges, it was suggested that a global body specific to nursing and midwifery be created to provide advice and guidance to meet these challenges. Thus, GAPFON provides a platform for nursing and midwifery to have an inclusive voice worldwide, to be a catalyst for global health partnerships and collaborations, and to help develop and influence policy and practice. Nursing and midwifery’s leadership platform – both as a central priority that stands on its own as well as a vital foundation for all other priority areas - is illustrated in The GAPFON Model.

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