General Council

Meeting of the General Council, Paris, 1924


Hygiene in the Schools.

While the function of the Junior Red Cross in the health field is primarily to interest children in the care of their own health and that of others, it is desirable that Red Cross Societies should, in connexion with their Junior activities, encourage the adoption, where necessary, of medical inspection of schools and the provision of school nurses and collaborate with them in the introduction of standard methods of weighing and measuring children”.



The General Council recommends that National Societies take part in the campaign against tuberculosis:

1. By the training of nurses and especially of public health nurses.

2. By co-operation, in cases where the Red Cross undertakes such practical work, in the establishment in each district of dispensaries, paying special attention to the protection of children and, as regards infants, taking part in the organization of babies’ centres.

The General Council expresses the wish that each National Society shall establish within its organization a technical medical bureau whose function it shall be to co-ordinate and direct the various medical and public health activities of the Red Cross.

The General Council particularly calls the attention of National Societies to the fact that it is thus possible to increase the effectiveness of voluntary organizations and at the same time to reduce their working expenses”.


Venereal Diseases.

The General Council, considering the usefulness of an ever-increasing co-ordination of all efforts in connexion with moral and prophylactic propaganda and the favourable opinions expressed by the Warsaw Conference (April 1923) and the Buenos Aires Conference (December 1923) recommends:

1o That the National Red Cross Societies should collabo- rate in the combating of venereal diseases, either by their direct action in their own country, or through the medium of the “Union Internationale contre le Peril Vénérien”.

2o That a scientific knowledge of the prevention and treatment of venereal diseases should be included in the programme of courses for Hospital and Public Health Nurses



The General Council recommends National Societies to consider Cancer as a social scourge on the same plane as Tuberculosis and Venereal Diseases, and to take part in the campaign against Cancer in the following way:

a) To organize propaganda in such a way as to draw the attention of the public to the necessity for early treatment, as well as to the existing centres for early diagnosis and treatment.

b) To insist on the social importance of including the subject of Cancer in the course of instruction for visiting nurses.

c) To participate, as far as possible, in the hospitalization of cancer patients, in view of the fact that, in many countries, treatment centres cannot give the full measure of their service, owing to lack of beds”



Recognizing the educational and economic value of the trained nurse to the nation’s welfare and the need for adequate nursing facilities in time of war, disaster and epidemic, the General Council, realizing that one of the purposes of the National Red Cross Societies is “the improvement of health, the prevention of disease and the mitigation of suffering”, pleads that National Red Cross Societies devote themselves to the development and advancement of nursing resources in their several countries, and recommends:

1. That the promotion and development of public health nursing should form a vital part of the programme of National Red Cross Societies in countries in which National Red Cross Societies are engaged in health activities and in countries in which the Government public and private organizations look to the Society for assistance in their health work.

2. That National Red Cross Societies should endeavour earnestly, in their respective countries, to promote in the minds of the public the national importance of the nurse; to work for the advancement of nursing education; to encourage educated women to enter schools of nursing and to improve the social and economic status of the nurse.

3. That National Red Cross Societies should endeavour to stimulate the development of schools of nursing of the highest order in their respective countries as much as possible in accordance with a plan and curriculum subsequently to be drawn up by the Nursing Advisory Board of the League, providing that institutions of this character do not already exist.

4. That National Red Cross Societies should recognize the value of nursing organizations and should work with them to promote their ideals for the best interest of the countries’ welfare.

5. That National Red Cross Societies should enroll, in a nursing reserve, all qualified nurses in the country who would be in a position to respond to the call of their country in time of war, disaster or epidemic.

6. That while recommending to the National Red Cross Societies the standardization of nurses to be enrolled or trained by the Red Cross Society in the future, we also gratefully recognize the valuable services rendered to their countries, in the past, by those nurses who have received less training, and recommend that they still hold the privilege and title of “Red Cross Nurse“, but that from now onwards all new groups trained by Red Cross Societies in short courses for emergency purposes should be designated “Voluntary Aid Detachments” or by a similar term and should serve under the enrolled Red Cross nurses.

7. In order that the Government and the public of each country may be assured that the National Red Cross Society will provide adequate and efficient nursing service, when called upon, and in order to facilitate international co-operation during war or disaster, that National Red Cross Societies should, hereafter, designate as Red Cross nurses, only those who have graduated from schools of nursing (schools accepting women of higher education) and giving not less than two years of consecutive and full time training, the ideal being a 3 years’ course in connexion with a hospital or hospitals providing medical, surgical and special services.

8. That National Red Cross Societies should appoint an Advisory Nursing Committee consisting of representative nurses and representatives of the medical profession, the health, educational and hospital authorities and others with a knowledge of nursing, to study the need for nursing service, to determine the nursing activities to be undertaken by the National Red Cross Society and to guide its development.

9. That during the ensuing two years the League should continue the International Course in Public Health Nursing and should develop an International Course for the Training of Nurse Administrators and Teachers of Schools of Nurses.

10. That the Nursing Division of the League should be put in a position to advise and assist National Red Cross Societies in the development of their nursing activities”.

General Council

Meeting of the General Council, Geneva, 1922


The General Council recommends that the Secretariat take occasion, when possible, to extend invitations to member societies to delegate nominees who shall undertake, by means of visits to the headquarters of other national societies and to the headquarters of the League, extensive studies of the organization methods of Red Cross Societies and their activities, notably public health, nursing, popular health instruction and Junior Red Cross”.


The General Council considers that the promotion and stimulation of public health nursing should form an integral part of the programme of every national Red Cross Society, provided this task is not already accomplished by other organizations, and recommends:

1. That each national Red Cross Society appoint a Red Cross Public Health Nursing Committee.

2. That the League continue during the ensuing two years the international course for the training of teachers of public health nursing: and that the League’s Nursing Division be prepared, whenever requested by a national Red Cross Society, to render active help in public health nursing, and to assist in all matters pertaining to the nursing field.

3. That the League Secretariat endeavour to stimulate the organization of schools of nursing of the highest order in those countries in which institutions of this character do not already exist.

4. That all national Red Cross Societies press the public authorities in their respective countries to improve the material and moral standing of public health nurses. The General Council, recognizing the great advantage to be derived from the establishment of an international course of training for teachers in public health nursing at a centre readily accessible to the countries of the two American continents, and the Far East, recommends that the League Secretariat examine the possibilities in this regard in consultation with the Societies concerned, with a view to instituting such a course”.


Meeting of the General Council, Geneva, 1920

From the introduction to the Resolutions:

“With our constituent Societies thus strengthened, we feel that the Medical Programme as outlined in the resolutions from that section may be most effectively carried on, embracing as it does the important features of the care and welfare of mothers and children, the treatment and control of tuberculosis and other infectious and contagious diseases and the improvement of sanitation, the , standardisation of vital statistics, and the encouragement of the development of scientific study along practical lines affecting the public health. We advocate through these Resolutions the extension of nursing service in all its branches covering the community, the home and the school as well as along more firmly established lines”.



So far as concerns the participation of the League in the world-campaign against Tuberculosis, the Medical Advisory Board , basing its opinion upon the Programme of the Cannes Conference, consider that the League should proceed to create, in certain districts of one of several of the countries of Europe that are most seriously affected with Tuberculosis, an experimental organisation on a more or less limited basis, expressing in its constitutional part of the general programme. This part should include:

  1. A preliminary survey of latent tuberculosis as well as of open infection in the entire population of some chosen districts, according to age, sex; profession and social groups;
  • A statistical study of tuberculosis mortality and of the various forms and localisations of the disease (in co-operation with the local public health authority);
  • The establishment of an adequate number of dispensaries managed by specially trained physicians and visiting nurses;
  • The organisation of sanatoria for isolation of advanced cases and for treatment of curable cases;
  • The creation of preventoria and open air schools for children;
  • The education of the medical profession as well as of the general public regarding the social fight against tuberculosis.

* Resolved; that the League organise an anti-tuberculosis demonstration in one or several countries where this demonstration would be particularly desirable and where the national Red Cross Society would bind itself to continue and to develop the movement undertaken”.

“Child Welfare

Puericulture (Child Welfare) consists not only in the care of sick children, but more especially in the measures as a whole to be adopted with regard to children before and after birth (pre-natal, natal and post-natal), hygiene of pregnancy and nourishment of the mother; hygiene of infancy and nursing; hygiene of early childhood; supervision of growth and protection from communicable diseases, more especially tuberculosis, in order to ensure normal development and avoid illness.

National Red Cross Societies should take measures to develop among nurses training in puericulture. The League should, in conformity with its resources, participate in this activity, either by creating or assisting in the creation of schools of puericulture or Child Welfare Centres, or by providing scholarships for doctors and nurses at existing schools of puericulture, such as the Franco-American School of the Faculty of Medicine in Paris or similar schools in other countries, and finally by the dissemination of the means of educative propaganda among the people.”

“Venereal Diseases.

The Medical Advisory Board consider that it would be desirable for the League to devote its attention to the question of education in sex-hygiene and antivenereal propaganda. The Board consider besides that it would be suitable for the League to study the means by which it would be possible to reduce the cost of specifically anti-syphilitic drugs which bring about the prompt disappearance of contagious lesions.

The Board consider that the diffusion of moral and physiological knowledge and of the ideals of purity and integrity of family life cannot be too much encouraged.

Resolved that, whereas venereal diseases are prevalent and dangerous communicable infections against which science has developed a practical programme for eradication, the League (a) recommend to all national Reel Cross Societies the desirability of holding annually, or at frequent intervals, regional conferences upon this subject for friendly review and criticism of the measures proposed, and (b] tender its services to all countries desiring to participate in the organisation of such regional conferences.


* Resolved that the League urge the establishment in Europe of one or more model Training Schools for Public Health Nurses, but that until this can be realised, there be founded under the supervision of the League, Nursing Scholarships for the national Red Cross Societies for those countries where no such facilities exist in a city chosen as being most appropriate”.