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S/Africa observes International Nurses Day

South African nurses on Wednesday joined the rest of the world to observe International Nurses Day amid the challenges posed…

South African nurses on Wednesday joined the rest of the world to observe International Nurses Day amid the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic which has killed over 54,000 people in the country since March last year.The occasion, which celebrates the contributions made by these frontline professionals locally and across the globe, also honours the world’s most famous nurse in Florence Nightingale who was born on 12 May 1820 and died at the age of 90 in London.  

Themed “Nurses: A Voice to Lead – A Vision for Future Healthcare,” this year’s occasion comes at a time local nurses are facing tremendous challenges due to long working hours and increased number of patients at health care facilities in the country due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

South African Nurses Council chief executive Sizeni Mchunu said on Wednesday that the past year has seen many nurses being forced to leave their families and live in separate quarters for fear of passing on the virus to them.  

She applauded the nursing profession for being at the forefront of health care and highly involved in looking after the sick and needy at the country’s medical facilities.

She added: “It will always take a health crisis to really bring it (nurses’ work) to the spotlight and remind our communities that there is no health system in the world without a nurse.”

Mchunu said “what the pandemic has demonstrated to all of us is that the health system of a country is as strong as its nursing force.”

“If you look at the real 24/7 health care service, it is guaranteed because of the presence of the nurse — even in the absence of the other health professionals,” she said. 

Paying tribute to all nurses for sacrificing so much during the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, Mchunu said scores of them across the country and the world had been infected and died from the virus. 

While the day was meant to honour and celebrate all nurses, it was also a reminder of the many challenges these caregivers faced while executing their health care duties, she added.

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