Address by Minister for Health and Social Security Hon. Nickolas Steele in observance of International Nurses Day 2021
Today 12 May 2021, Grenada joins the rest of the world in celebrating International Nurses Day. International Nurses Day is celebrated each year on May 12 — the anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing. This year marks the 201st birthday of Florence Nightingale.
The theme for this year’s celebration is “Nurses: A Voice to Lead: A Vision for Future Healthcare”. The main theme of “A Voice to Lead” has been used for the past few years. It clearly speaks to the importance of nursing leadership and the issues and problems around the world associated with nursing voices not being heard or included at policy table for health systems and policy decision-making. As such I am proud to announce that at the upcoming World Health Assembly Grenada will for the first time have 2 senior active nurses as part of our official delegation. We look forward to their valuable contribution.
The theme is a very strong one and it resonates, reflects, and aligns with the work that they are doing in their respective countries, Grenada being no exception.
The theme also connects with the State of the World’s Nursing Report by the World Health Organization in partnership with the International Council of Nurses and the Nursing Now Campaign. The sub-theme of “A Vision for Future Healthcare” relates to nursing leadership coming to the fore in many countries including Grenada, during the pandemic.
The world is seeing the value of nursing in a way perhaps that it hasn’t before because of the key role nurses are playing in the Covid-19 Pandemic response.
In Grenada, nurses as a professional group of frontline workers have led the Covid-19 response. They are the ones leading surveillance activities, testing persons for Covid-19 at our ports of entry, quarantine sites and caring those who are hospitalised. Often times putting their lives and that of their families at risk.
Data as of 31 January 2021 revealed the cumulative number of reported Covid – 19 deaths among nurses in 59 countries was 2,710. Those nurses would have made the ultimate sacrifice. In many countries, nurses are the largest group of health workers with Covid-19 infection.
Nurses, you must be commended for your unfailing commitment to act in fighting this and all other health crisis and to protect our patients and communities. I want to assure you that the contribution you are making in preventing the spread of Covid –19 in Grenada does not go unnoticed.
We were fortunate in that we have not lost any of our frontline workers to Covid -19. I ask that you take a moment to reflect and honour the memory of nurses and other health care workers who have tragically died during the Covid-19 pandemic. Pause to also remember our own nurses who have gone before us, the trailblazers who are still with us and who have built a solid foundation on which we now stand.
Amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, other services at the various institutions and in the community continue. In some cases, adjustments had to be made to how the services were delivered, but nonetheless, services continued. Our healthcare professionals (nurses, doctors, and other members of the health team) were able to provide quality care to quite a number of patients.
The bottom line is, from providing direct care to affected hospitalised patients to leading full-scale public health operations, nurses are front and center, working around the clock to protect the health and well-being of patients and the public at large.
Administratively, the Ministry of Health and Social Security continues to work assiduously with other stakeholders to address outstanding administrative matters related to nursing. We are continuing to work on the regularisation of positions together with the Department of Public Administration. The issues surrounding contracts are also given attention.
The Ministry has recommenced the Nursing Assistant Training Programme and the Midwifery training programme is expected to commence later this year in collaboration with the TA Marryshow Community College.
The Ministry also continues the essential task of succession planning. I know that the Nursing Department has been proactive in that aspect and has been exposing nurses with the potential and abilities to function in higher offices and who possess the right attitude and aptitude to leadership roles. I take this opportunity to commend the various nursing leaders on their proactive approach to mentorship and succession planning.
In closing, I wish many continued blessings to all nurses. Thank you for your service to humanity. Your work transcends beyond the patient because you also provide comfort to families of the sick. It is often said that nursing is a thankless job, however, your contribution towards the wellbeing of the nation can never be truly measured.
I take this opportunity to encourage young persons including young men to see nursing as a viable and noble profession to pursue. You can be a part of the solution you wish to see.
Congratulation to all nurses whether you are in active practice or retired. Happy International Nurses Day. Thank You.
Government of Grenada.