Free State commemorates International Nurses Day.

Free State province joined the international community to observe #InternationalNursesDay2020.  Free State Health MEC Montseng Tsiu and the Head of Department, Dr. Motau were with 27 Professional Nurses and more that 300 other nurses in 35 sites connected via Zoom. All sites in Free State observed social distancing across the province. The theme for international nurses day 2020 was “Nurses: A Voice to Lead – Nursing the World to Health”. This theme demonstrated how nurses are central to addressing a wide range of health challenges. The Free State joined South Africa and the world to celebrate international nurses day amidst the fight to curb the debilitating effects of Covid19.

The Minister of Health, Dr Zwelini Mkhize, the Deputy Minister Dr Joe Phaahla, together with MECs for Health in all 9 Provinces held a special candlelight ceremony for all nurses in the country. All MECs, together with a small group of nurses in their respective provinces held their events at selected venues across the country. The Free State held its main event at Bophelo House.  All nurses across the country, both in service and those who are retired, were invited to participate in the special day.  The event was in recognition of their hard work, dedication and sacrifice. It was also a moment to acknowledge the nurses’ role as frontline workers in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The International Council of Nurses (ICN) said last week that it believes at least 90,000 healthcare workers had been infected and more than 260 nurses had died in the novel coronavirus pandemic. Failure by governments to record infection rates and deaths of healthcare staff “is a scandal that puts staff at higher risk” and underestimates the true scale of the problem, the ICN said in a statement released in Geneva.

“The lack of official data on infections and deaths among nurses and other healthcare workers is scandalous,” said ICN chief executive officer Howard Catton. “Nurses and healthcare workers have been put at greater risk because of the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) and poor preparedness for this pandemic.” The ICN called on governments to immediately start keeping accurate records of infections and deaths among healthcare workers.

Yesterday Health Minister Zweli Mkhize announced that the number of Covid-19 cases in the country has increased to 11,350. There have been 4,357 total recoveries and 206 deaths recorded. 369697 tests have been conducted and 698 new cases were recorded. Mkhize dedicated this year’s International Nurses Day, which he observed at the King Edward VIII Hospital in Durban, to the health practitioners who died in the fight against Covid-19. 580 nurses have been infected with the virus to date.

“As a department, we recognise the need to prioritise the nursing profession along with the well-being of nurses, and strengthening nursing education, training and practice is one of our strategic objectives,” Mkhize said

Mkhize said that the department is commitment to ensure that health practitioners are provided with all the necessary personal protective equipment (PPEs) “As we celebrate our nurses and midwives, I would like to affirm our commitment to ensuring that no nurse will be allowed to care for patients without appropriate protective equipment, be it at community level during screening and testing or in a health facility.

As of yesterday, the Free State there were 135 confirmed cases. There have been a total of 107 recoveries and 6 deaths recorded. 1 126 068 people have been screened and 14 434 tests have been conducted. Statistics according to districts are 2 cases Boshoff in the Lejweleputswa, 1 case in Letsemeng in Xhariep, 118 cases in Mangaung with a single case in Botshabelo and 117 in Bloemfontein, in Fezile Dabi district are three cases in Kroonstad and two in Sasolburg with Thabo Mofutsanayana recording 4 cases in Harrismith, three in Ladybrand and 1 in Senekal.

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