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Ramaphosa salutes SA nurses on International Nurses Day

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Nurses deserve the gratitude of all South Africans, particularly as the country confronts the Covid-19 pandemic, says president.

PRESIDENT Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday saluted South Africa’s nurses and thanked them for their critical contribution to the country’s well-being, in a message to mark International Nurses Day.

“As a nation, we owe our well-being to the untiring commitment of nurses, whose positive impact on our lives reaches beyond our physical health,” Ramaphosa said.

He described nursing staff as “the front line of our health-care system” and said they deserved the gratitude of all South Africans, particularly as the country confronts the Covid-19 pandemic.

“They provide comfort and counsel to the vulnerable and they are at our side from birth to the instant of death. More broadly, nurses are community-builders, mentors, counsellors and educators who provide psychosocial support, beyond the medical domain, to the communities in which they are based and are at the forefront of our fight against many social ills.

“Nurses are therefore central to our achievement of a better life for all South Africans.”

He said nurses also deserve to be protected while they carry out their vital work.

“Nurses deserve our appreciation and gratitude and we must offer nurses the protection they need against a range of threats, from viruses to violence,” the president said.

“Currently, nurses are placing themselves between our communities and the unseen enemy we face in Covid-19. We are humbled by their bravery, their hard work and their commitment to putting the interests of all South Africans before their own and those of their own families.

“Let us pause today to celebrate this invaluable and treasured cadre of our society and let us give them our full support and gratitude into the future.”

International Nurses Day is celebrated around the world every May 12, the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth. The annual commemoration is organised by the International Council of Nurses.

The opposition Inkatha Freedom Party said nurses deserved to be treated and cherished as heroes, and not only in times of crisis.

“It is beyond measure the great debt of gratitude we owe to the men and women on the front line, not only in times of crisis, but for each and every working day in which nurses serve with humility, bravery and with heroism.”

– African News Agency (ANA)