By Nico Strydom
When the World Health Organisation (WHO) designated 2020 to be the international year of the nurse and the midwife, there was no way of knowing that it would be prophetic.
Currently nurses are on the front lines fighting against the Covid-19 pandemic. In history nurses have always been on the forefront in the battle against epidemics and pandemics.
Nurses are often the first and sometimes the only health workers people see and the Covid-19 pandemic once again reminds us of the extremely important role the play. Nurses comprise more than half of the world’s health workers, but according to the WHO, there is still a shortage of nurses worldwide.
Nurses are exposed to infectious diseases daily, placing their lives on the line. They also work exceedingly long shifts and often for little money. They become exhausted physically, emotionally and mentally. Nurses are also confronted with the deaths of patients on a daily basis – patients they have cared for with compassion.
In this time of the Covid-19 pandemic, attention is once again focused on the acknowledgement that nurses deserve for their selfless sacrifice and service. To show nurses appreciation for what they do is a constant reminder that they make a difference in people’s lives every day.
Nurses should receive the physical and emotional protection they deserve so that they can fulfil their roles as care-givers.
Dr Zweli Mkhize, Minister of Health, recently also paid homage to nurses and their role in the battle against the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Your compassion with and comfort given to patients who cannot have their loved ones at their side during the Covid-19 pandemic is the best gift to our patients, a gift that no amount of money can buy.
“To all the nurses in South Africa and the world we give a big thank you for carrying the burden of the Covid-19 pandemic and serving humanity. We appreciate the choice you made to carry the burden to save lives during our weakest moments in our journey on earth.
“We salute you because you are the source of hope and strength in the dark days of hopelessness and poor health. Often you are the last person to hold someone’s hand and close their eyes when they conclude their last chapter on earth. We salute you for the dedication and selflessness with which you give your all to serve others.”
SA Coronavirus: https://sacoronavirus.co.za/2020/05/12/address-by-the-minister-for-the-celebration-of-the-international-year-of-the-nurse-and-midwives/