Today, April 7th is recognized globally as World Health Day. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the year 2020 as the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife, hence the theme for this year’s World Health Day: “Support Nurses and Midwives.”
The spotlight is therefore on nurses and midwives who play an essential role in the delivery of health care throughout the world. In this current COVID-19 pandemic, nurses are among the category of health workers who are on the frontline. Our nurses have worked and continue to work tirelessly to provide quality care and treatment to our people.
The roles of nurses today have extended far beyond caregivers. Nurses are instrumental in providing a more holistic approach to patient care.
Without the support of this profession, we would be unable to achieve many of our health targets, such as those health targets that are enshrined within the Sustainable Development Goals. It therefore means we must invest in a robust nursing workforce, which is critical for achieving universal health coverage.
The World Health Organization made a series of recommendations for policy makers, which the Ministry of Health seeks to adopt or improve upon. These include:
1. Investing in nursing and midwifery education and employment so universal health coverage becomes a reality everywhere;
2. Strengthening and paying more attention to nursing and midwifery influence and leadership. Health services will improve as a result;
3. Taking steps to improve gathering of workforce data, in order to better target resources and make changes where they are needed most.
We, therefore, need to take the time to applaud and show more appreciation to our nurses for their hard work and dedication to the profession. We need to adequately remunerate them for their work. We need to support and invest in their continued education and in the resources they need to protect themselves, in an effort to provide that quality of care we all expect.
Today, let us remember our nurses, especially in this present global climate. The COVID-19 pandemic has placed not only our residents and citizens at risk, but also our nurses and other healthcare workers.
I endorse the nurses’ tagline: “I stay at work for you. You stay at home for us.” Please adhere to the measures put in place by the authorities which are aimed at minimizing the spread of COVID-19.
Let us pray for and raise our hats to our hardworking nurses during this global Public Health crisis