President Lazarus Chakwera, on Saturday, November 28, 2020, during the launch of year 2020 of nurses and midwives at Bingu International Convention centre, declared the nurses and midwives in the country as national heroes.
The President commended nurses for their sacrifice and commitment in providing the best healthcare services in the country.
“If I may, because of the sacrifices made by those of you in this profession, we have every reason to regard you as national heroes.” said Chakwera.
A National Hero is someone who has made significant positive contributions to the growth and development of society and represents all peoples.
While other countries have specific national heroes day, Malawi does not have one. instead, Malawi has an official Martyrs Day which celebrates her freedom fighters.
Other countries that celebrate their heroes include Angola, where the National Heroes Day is a holiday on 17 September, the birthday of the national hero Agostinho Neto, the Bahamas where the day has been a public holiday since 2013, Barbados, who have the day as a public holiday on April 28. Other African countries include Zambia, Kenya, Mozambique and Namibia.
The work of nurses and midwives in the country met many challenges in the year 2020 and topping the list was the world’s COVID-19 pandemic.
“Last year, when this year was designated as the year to celebrate your work, none of us had any idea of the depth of foresight embodied in that designation. It is only now, in retrospect, knowing the ravages the world has since suffered from Covid-19 Pandemic, that we can see with 2020 vision that 2020 is indeed yours to claim,” said Chakwera.
He said: “Nurses have worked tirelessly this year to ensure that they provide the best healthcare to the public amidst COVID-19, putting aside their own health needs.”.
The President highlighted some notable programs that are helping Malawi maintain its reputation as a global leader in the training and practices of nursing.
One such program is the Young Nursing and Midwifery Leaders Mentorship Project.
On this note, the First citizen assured nurses that government has their best interest at heart and that he would ensure that the nurses’ grievances are solved.
President Chakwera, therefore commended institutions and stakeholders that assist government to educate, recruit and deploy nurses and midwives and called them true partners in the work of building a new Malawi.
At the 72nd World Health Assembly in Geneva in May 2019, the World Health Organisation dedicated the year 2020, which marks two centuries since the founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale was born, as the year of Nurses and Midwives.
President of the National Organisation of Nurses and Midwives (NONM), Shouts Simeza, said nurses need to be supported and encouraged by the general public.
He also underscored the importance of solving some of the pertinent issues that affect nurses in the country.
“We will seat down and list down pertinent issues that are affecting nurses and direct them to the State President so that lasting solutions should be found to these issues,” he said.
According to Simeza, some of the issues include, lack of accommodation near hospitals, shortage of workforce which mounts pressure on the available nurses and lack of sponsorship for career advancement.
On the day, two nurses received lifetime achievement awards for their service to the nursing and midwifery profession, the two are Charity Salima and Dorothy Ngoma.—Additional reporting by Fostina Mkandawire, ManaFollow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :