Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, has hailed the island’s nurses as “heroes of health” and an “invaluable resource” to the public health system.
In a video message to mark International Nurses Day on Wednesday (May 12), Dr. Tufton said that the commitment of nurses to care continues to be demonstrated daily, but more so during the coronavirus (COVD-19) pandemic.
“Nurses in Jamaica are central to the public health system and, today, on International Nurses’ Day, we pause to express appreciation and gratitude to you. Your unwavering dedication in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic has amplified the important role that you play in the healthcare system, especially in difficult times,” he noted.
He said that nurses continue to play a key role in achievements across several priority areas, which includes improving immunisation coverage, sustaining the fight against communicable and non-communicable diseases (NCDs), and reducing infant, child and maternal mortality.
Dr. Tufton said that the Ministry is committed to the professional development of the front-line workers and “will continue to explore opportunities for nurses to upskill and receive maximum benefits, while contributing to the best health outcome for all”.
President of the Nurses Association of Jamaica (NAJ), Patsy Edwards Henry, in her remarks, said that the country’s nurses continue to provide “yeoman service” to their fellow citizens during the pandemic and have “shown resilience and creativity” in the rollout of the vaccination programme.
“When I look back at how nurses supported and championed the rollout during the many blitz events held islandwide, getting over 80,000 persons vaccinated in just five days, phenomenal is too small a word to describe the feat,” she said.
She noted that the pandemic has shown that nurses are flexible, proactive, innovative and creative.
“As we salute and applaud our nurses, we thank those who have partnered with us over the years, and especially the last year, to help to make life a little more comfortable for the nurses. COVID-19 has clearly demonstrated that mitigating the impact of the virus is not solely the responsibility of health professionals. It is up to every member of the public, individuals and communities,” she added.
International Nurses Day is observed each year on May 12, which is the birthday of the founder of modern-day nursing, Florence Nightingale.
This year’s observance was under the theme ‘Nurses: A Voice to Lead, A Vision for Future Healthcare’.