South Africa celebrates International Nurses Day

South Africa marks International Nurses Day – 12 May

South Africa joins the rest of the world in celebrating the International Nurses Day in recognition of the contribution and critical role nurses continue to play in peoples lives and improving the health outcomes.

Nurses and midwives remain a backbone of the healthcare system and provide primary healthcare services especially at grassroots level in clinics and community health centres because they comprise the largest portion of the health workforce who deliver core services at all levels of the health system and across the continuum of care to promote health, improve patient care, service delivery and health outcomes.

The International Nurses Day is held annually (12 May) to celebrate the commitment and hardwork by the nurses who are a pillar of every healthcare system despite sometimes working under demanding times and stressful working conditions.

The Department of Healths Director General Ms Precious Matsoso says the day is dedicate to all nurses across the country for their dedication and hardwork to help the country achieve a long and health life for all.

Nurses are the heart-beat of our healthcare and are all commended for their contribution to attain a long and healthy life for all. As Government, civil society and communities we all have a responsibility to support and commend work done by nurses who are the first contact with life at birth and often the last health worker seen by our patients before end of life”, said Ms Matsoso.

This years International Nurses Day is celebrated under a theme “Health is a human right”, which is in line with South Africas National Health Insurance which aims to provide access to quality, affordable personal health services for all South Africans based on their health needs irrespective of their socio-economic status.

The International Nurses Day is named after Florence Nightingale who was born on 12 May 1820 and is respected and honoured for transforming the face of nursing profession from untrained to a highly skilled, well-respected person centred profession.

“We also like to dedicate this day to Mama Albertina Sisulu, who was not only a political activist, but also a nurse who championed community health nursing service”, added Director General Matsoso.

The Department of Health would also like to congratulate Ms Thembeka Gwagwa for her recent election to the board of International Council of Nurses (ICN) as second Vice-President. Ms Gwagwa served as General Secretary of DENOSA. The ICN is a federation of more than 130 national nurses associations representing more than 20 million nurses worldwide.

Source: Government of South Africa