Nurses on the frontline in the battle against COVID-19 as International Nurses Day being observed

Published On: May 12, 2020 12:44 PM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, May 12: The annual International Nurses Day is being observed on Tuesday across the globe at a time when the world is battling the novel coronavirus and nurses are in the front to deal with this pandemic.

The International Council of Nurses has set "Nursing the world to health" as the theme of this year's International Nurses Day, illustrating how nurses can overcome a wide range of health issues amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The day marks the birth (May 12, 1820) of Florence Nightingale in respect to her founding role in modern nursing. The day is observed to inspire nurses and makes the public aware of their contribution in healthcare and health management.

International Nurses Day also provides information and resources that will help to raise the profile of the profession, so that the new generation can also know more about this noble profession. The day marks the contributions that nurses make to society and why it is important to appreciate their efforts.

“Having the Year of the Nurse and Midwife coincide with Florence Nightingale’s bicentennial raises the exciting prospect of nurses finally being recognized for all the good they do," the International Council of Nurses (ICN) President Annette Kennedy said in a recent press statement.

"All around the world, nurses are working tirelessly to provide the care and attention people need, whenever and wherever they need it. We want next year’s International Nurses Day to highlight that nurses are central to the delivery of healthcare, that nurses are making invaluable contributions to the health of people globally. Nurses, because of their unique role of working with people from birth to death, need to be involved in health policy," she added. She is expecting 2020 to be a momentous year for the profession.

In its recent report, the ICN said that at least 90,000 health-care workers worldwide are believed to have been infected with COVID-19, and possibly twice that, amid reports of continuing shortages of protective equipment.

According to ICN, the disease has killed more than 260 nurses. The Geneva-based organization of nurses also urged authorities to keep more accurate records to help prevent the virus from spreading among staff and patients.

Last month, the ICN made public that 100 nurses had died in the pandemic sparked by the novel coronavirus that emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.

“The figure for health care workers infections has risen from 23,000 to we think more than 90,000, but that is still an under-estimation because it is not (covering) every country in the world,” Howard Catton, ICN’s chief executive officer, was quoted by Reuters Television as saying.

The 90,000 estimate is based on information collected on 30 countries from national nursing associations, government figures and media reports. The ICN represents 130 national associations and more than 20 million registered nurses.

Catton, noting that 3.5 million cases of COVID-19 have been reported worldwide, said: “If the average health worker infection rate, about 6 percent we think, is applied to that, the figure globally could be more than 200,000 health worker infections today.

“The scandal is that governments are not systematically collecting and reporting on this information. It looks to us as though they are turning a blind eye which we think is completely unacceptable and will cost more lives,” Catton, a Briton, added.

The World Health Organization (WHO), which is coordinating the global response to the pandemic, says that its 194 member states are not providing comprehensive figures on health worker infections as they grapple with the unprecedented crisis.

(with inputs from Reuters) 

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