The International Council of Nurses and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement marked International Nurses Day on May 12 by lauding nurses around the globe.
“Nurses are the world’s life-savers,” said Robert Mardini, director-general of the International Committee of the Red Cross.
“They are risking their own health and too often sacrificing time with their family to help those suffering from COVID-19,” he added.
“It’s heartening to see many communities praise and thank nurses, but it’s distressing that other nurses face harassment, stigmatization, and even attack,” said Mardini.
Jagan Chapagain, secretary general of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, said the safety of health care workers is “crucial for communities” to overcome the pandemic.
“[Nurses] not only save people from COVID-19, they also ensure the continuity of life saving health services to protect people from accidents and other illnesses,” said Chapagain.
The International Council of Nurses said the “stigmatization and violence against nurses and other health workers in some countries is shocking.”
Annette Kennedy, president of the council, said the pandemic has seen frontline nurses rightly recognised as heroes, but they are also ordinary mothers and fathers with their own families to protect.
“They deserve to be able to work free from fear, whether because of a lack of PPE or because of harassment and attack,” said Kennedy.
Nurses serving vulnerable communities in poorer areas of the world are also particularly at risk due to COVID-19.
As it turns out, the World Health Assembly’s designation of 2020 as the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife was a prescient show of appreciation, Kennedy said.
The Red Cross and Red Crescent and the International Council of Nurses called on governments to commit to ensuring the protection and safety of nurses and other health workers, especially in resource-poor, disaster and conflict settings.