A proposed amendment to the Vital Statistics Act will allow some grieving families to make arrangements more quickly after a death. The change would allow nurse practitioners and others authorized to sign medical certificates of death in certain circumstances. “Losing a loved one is painful enough,” said John MacDonell, Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations. “We want to ensure that grieving families don’t have to wait, and can make arrangements as quickly as possible.” Currently, only doctors and medical examiners are allowed to sign medical certificates of death, and funeral directors cannot remove a body until the certificate is signed. This can cause hardship for families in remote and rural areas, in some long-term residential facilities and deaths at home. Early consultations indicate strong support for the proposed amendments. More consultation is needed to determine when nurse practitioners and other authorized people can sign the certificate. “Nurse practitioners will be extremely pleased with this change,” said Donna Denney, executive director of the College of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia. “It will help families cope with the loss of a loved one, particularly in long-term and palliative care settings, in a more dignified and respectful manner.” There are more than 100 licensed nurse practitioners in Nova Scotia.
“Peacekeeping missions can never end wars by themselves, but they do offer the best possible way of ensuring there is a sustainable peace,” the Secretary-General said in a message marking the International Day of UN Peacekeepers, observed annually on 29 May. “Let us remember that the most expensive peacekeeping operation costs far less than the cheapest war.”Paying tribute to those who have lost their lives in the service of peace, he said, “We must continue to strive, as those brave peacekeepers did, to make it possible for the community of nations to live in peace.”More than 53,000 uniformed personnel and at least 11,000 civilian staff from 94 countries currently serve in 15 missions across the globe. Those numbers are likely to increase as the Security Council this week approved an operation for Burundi, while another is being planned for Sudan.”The growth in missions is a welcome sign that many countries are choosing a healthier path as they emerge from violent conflicts,” Mr. Annan said. But he noted that it places enormous strain on the UN’s resources and urged countries to provide the additional troops and funds needed to achieve the tasks ahead.UN peacekeeping has also moved beyond its traditional role as a monitor of ceasefires to engaging in such tasks as assisting political transitions, building institutions and fostering the spread of the rule of law, the Secretary-General noted. Missions are also supporting economic reconstruction, supervising elections, disarming militias and former combatants, facilitating humanitarian aid programmes and re-settling refugees and displaced persons.The Day was inaugurated to commemorate more than 50 years of dedication and sacrifice by peacekeepers serving under the UN’s flag to build confidence, reconcile warring parties and relieve suffering.