The Citizen (Gauteng)

SA must say big thanks to nurses


It’s a long way from the Crimean War where – Western history books tell you – the concept of nursing became part of our lives thanks to Florence Nightingal­e, who tended to the wounded soldiers in that war. These days, though, nurses are not on the fringes of a conflict, they’re on the frontlines of one of humanity’s most bitter wars – that against the Covid-19 pandemic.

While the disease has already claimed millions of lives around the globe, many thousands of those have been nurses, who made the ultimate sacrifice in their commitment to save lives and alleviate suffering.

In the Covid waves which have swept this country – and Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said ominously yesterday that the third wave is already upon us – nurses have often been let down by their government.

They are paid poorly, they work long hours – but in South Africa, they must also contend with lack of equipment and medicines, over-crowding in hospitals and clinics as well as ungrateful and sometimes even threatenin­g patients and their families.

As if that was not enough, many of them were put in harm’s way during the course of the pandemic in this country because of a lack of proper personal protective equipment.

And that was down, in most cases, to theft of money intended for the purpose, or incompeten­ce in getting the equipment distribute­d.

Blame for that lies squarely at the door of the ANC. Yet, through it all, most of our nurses have continued to do their jobs with selfless dedication.

And that is something for which this nation must be thankful … and proud that we have people among us who can think of something more than their own comforts and wealth.

To our nurses, and to all of our health workers ... words will never be enough to express our thanks.

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