Basseterre, St. Kitts, May 12, 2020 (SKNIS): In fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, St. Kitts and Nevis joined with the rest of the world to celebrate International Nurses Day under the theme: “Nurses: A Voice to Lead ̶ Nursing the World to Health.


While it is true that this theme is an adaptation of the ones chosen for 2017 to 2019, this year’s focus is being centred deliberately on the tall global order that has now been placed on the shoulders of nurses in every country, continent and community in response to the Novel Coronavirus, COVID-19 Pandemic,” said Minister of State with responsibility for Health, the Honourable Wendy Phipps, during her address at the May 12 National Emergency Operations Center (NEOC) COVID-19 Daily Briefing.


Minister Phipps stated that as a result of the unprecedented impact of COVID-19, on all global citizens, “our local nursing fraternity like the rest of its international counterparts of theirs is called upon to render critical nursing care in this time of greatest need to help heal the sick, to comfort the dying and to remain stoic at the centre of the health care continuum even as the virus continues to leave a trail of infection, disease, death and disruption that has left no region of the world unscathed.”


The Minister of State said that although the nation’s experience with COVID-19 is mild, it has enabled the nursing fraternity to be speared from “the well told realities in other countries where it has become the norm for nurses to suffer the ravages of extra long shifts due to the ongoing shortage of nurses, heavy emotional and physical tolls including heartbreak over the death of some of their colleagues to COVID-19 or being the sole individual at the death bed of a COVID-19 patient whose family cannot be there to say their final goodbyes, extended separation from their own families, anxieties over insufficient supply of ventilators for critically ill patients and insecurity over limited yet precious supplies of Personal Protective Equipment commonly referred to as PPE.”


Minister Phipps stated that nevertheless, the country’s nurses have been well trained and are adequately resourced in terms of PPE, ventilators and other critical medical equipment and “stand ready to address the healthcare needs of our citizens and residents who may present at our hospitals with COVID-19 symptoms.”


We say a sincere thank you to all of them for their service to our country and for their courage and willingness to make special sacrifices at this critical time in human history,” she said.


The minister with responsibility for health noted that the Federal Cabinet and the Federal Ministry of Health are mindful of the fact that this years’ observance of International Nurses Day will be much different from celebrations of previous years.


As can be expected, this is due to the preoccupation of the Federation and the rest of the world for that matter in responding to the formidable threats to life, liberty, public health and public safety as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Minister Phipps.


In spite of this, she said that the Cabinet feels that “this, more now than ever, is an ideal opportunity to celebrate nurses here and elsewhere for their selfless service, their care and their personal sacrifice in addressing the needs of our hurting and fractured world.”


The Cabinet takes this moment to salute all of our nurses, be they practicing in the public or private sectors, we remember at this time our retired nurses who have long blazed the trail for younger generations to follow and have laid a solid foundation for the advancements in public health that we take for granted today. On behalf of the Federal Government, I wish every nurse in our federation a happy International Nurses Day 2020,” said Minister Phipps.