International Nurses Day: KZN Health MEC pays tribute to the province’s 397 nurses who succumbed to Covid-19
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Durban - As the world commemorated International Nurses Day, KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Health, Nomagugu Simelane has praised the “ spirit and never-say-die attitude” of the provinces nurses especially in light of their heroic efforts on the frontline of the Covid-19 pandemic.
She said that without the courage, generosity of spirit and never-say-die attitude of nurses, KZN would not have managed to save as many lives as it did during the past two waves of Covid-19.
International Nurses Day is commemorated annually on May 12 to coincide with the birthday of Florence Nightingale, who is considered the founder of modern nursing.
This year’s theme, as set by the International Council of Nurses, is: Nurses: A Voice to Lead - A vision for future healthcare.
Reflecting on the contribution of nurses during the pandemic, which she has described as “stellar”, Simelane said that fighting the Covid-19 pandemic had been emotionally draining on nurses as they have lost colleagues to the virus while many of them had been infected as well.
“Indeed, these current generations of nurses will go down in history as our heroic cadre of healthcare professionals who were prepared to face anything, including dying with their boots on,” Simelane said.
“...It’s no child’s play leaving your family every day and walking straight into a working environment that resembles a war zone; where you might get infected with the deadly Covid- 19; and potentially come back and infect your own family.
“It is no child’s play watching your own patients and colleagues die in large numbers from this new, incurable, and deadly disease,” she said.
Simelane thanked nurses for their selflessness and risking it all to serve their country.
The MEC also remembers the nurses who had sadly lost their lives due to Covid- 19.
“To illustrate the point about how exposed our nurses are, since the pandemic started, at least 17 076 nurses have been infected with Covid-19; with 397 having sadly succumbed to the disease. May their souls rest in peace.
“We know that these deaths have left many families without breadwinners. Due to Covid-19, many children have been left without mothers and fathers; and communities and workplaces are today without their beloved and trusted pillars of support.
“Therefore, to all those who have lost their loved ones, we send our deepest condolences.”
The MEC also thanked nurses and all other staff members for vaccinating 69 958 of their colleagues so far; and for recruiting the public to register for the next round of vaccinations.
“As we enter the second phase of vaccination, we appreciate the role that nurses are playing in encouraging those who are aged 60 and above, as well as those who are 18 years old and living with co-morbidities, to register so that they can be vaccinated.
“Our target for Phase 2 is to vaccinate at least 2,9 million people by October 2021, with Phase 3 expected to begin in November 2021.
“We have an army of 7 616 people who are trained to carry out these vaccinations, and we are confident that, with the requisite support and co-operation from the public, we can indeed accomplish these targets, and move closer towards achieving the 67% population immunity that we need.”
The MEC also called on all of society to continue following the COVID – 19 precautions and remain alive to the potential threat of a third wave of infections.