MEC for Health and Wellness Dr Nomafrench Mbombo paid tribute to the healthcare system’s pillars of strength at Gugulethu Community Health Centre (CHC) on International Nurses Day last Friday, May 12.
This year International Nurses Day was celebrated with the theme “Our Nurses Our Future”, which aims to acknowledge and thank each nurse who has chosen a career of caring for others and remains at the core of health service delivery.
Speaking to the nurses, Dr Mbombo said the province is committed to developing the next generation of nurses.
Dr Mbombo said in the Western Cape’s public health sector, 13 403 nurses continue to provide quality care to those in need be it in a health facility, in someone’s home, in a mobile clinic, on a bus or walking door to door. These heroes should be celebrated, supported, and empowered as they are the first point of contact for many within the health system.
“On behalf of the Western Cape Government, I want to thank all our nurses for their dedication towards their work. On a daily basis, our nurses are on the frontline of service delivery in our facilities and ensure that patients are well-cared for.”
She said she was proud to celebrate the day, which promotes and celebrates these excellent professionals in the healthcare sector. She said a health facility without a nurse is like a building without a foundation. “From cradle to grave, nurses are always there for our patients. Let us spend today giving them the recognition they deserve.”
International Nurses Day was a proud moment for Sister Tandiswa Kami-Mweli, operational manager at Gugulethu Midwife Obstetric Unit.
According to Sister Kami-Mweli, “It commemorates the birthday of Florence Nightingale, and an opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of nursing as a profession and to recognise the valuable work done by nurses every day in making sure the health and wellbeing of our people and community are taken care of. To be a nurse you must have compassion for human life and dignity.”
She said to her, the day is a moment to be proud of the contribution that all nurses make globally to healthcare and wellness, and it is a moment to celebrate that contribution, irrespective of the circumstances and conditions they work under. “We all know how nurses are undervalued financially, but this day reminds me of the choice I made 18 years ago. It is a day that we come together as nurses and view our struggles together as a collective and soldier on. Celebrating this day is of utmost importance to all nurses globally as we have witnessed their efforts during the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Sister Kami-Mweli.
For Sister Nonzame Tiki, clinical nurse practitioner at Gugulethu CHC, “Nurses Day is important because it uplifts the nurses’ spirits and reminds us that we are the backbone of the health system. This special day reminds nurses of the pledge we made to render a professional healthcare service to the community, especially now that the healthcare system is surrounded by many challenging factors post-Covid-19.”
Sister Tiki said the department has invested heavily towards the training of nurses in the province and implemented interventions to increase the supply of nurses such as establishing an integrated nurse-training framework, a coordinated clinical nurse-training platform and obtaining accreditation of additional nursing programmes.
The department added that it was pleased that this year’s theme for International Nurse’s Day directly links with the plans they have already started to put in place to ensure the continuous development and up-skilling of nurses “as they are the future”.