The Democratic Alliance (DA) says there is little for South African nurses to celebrate on International Nurses Day. The day marks the birthday in 1820 of the founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale.

DA Spokesperson on Health Siviwe Gwarube says the majority of healthcare workers have not been vaccinated while the country could be on the verge of a third wave of coronavirus infections.

Rich Sicina shares the significance of International Nurses Day:

Gwarube highlights some of the many challenges faced by healthcare workers.

“The Democratic Alliance marks International Nurses Day today. However, we are of the view that there is little to celebrate, considering that over 700 000 healthcare workers are yet to be vaccinated. Our view is that nurses have become the backbone of our health system, but they have been continuously let down, either through the unavailability of PPEs (Personal Protective Equipment), crumbling infrastructure, massive vacancy rates and now are being let down because they are not having access to live saving vaccines. This is despite the fact that we are almost at the verge of a third wave of infections as we enter the winter season.”

Thanking all nurses

Western Cape Health Minister Dr Nomafrench Mbombo has thanked all nurses for their hard work and dedication to their profession. Nurses around the world have been at the forefront of the battle against the coronavirus pandemic.

Mbombo says nurses throughout the country are the backbone of the health system.

“They are the first contact of the health system by the patient. From the cradle to the grave, when you give birth and also when you depart and pass on, the last person who closes your eyes is the nurse. It is the nurse who spends most of their time with the patient when other health professionals probably come and provide interventions and leave their orders.” – Additional reporting by Sagree Chetty. 

Below is an infographic on different types of nurses: