Today the world stands on the shoulders of its most valiant of heroes; doctors, healthcare workers, attendants, lab techs, and most importantly nurses.

Did you hear about the nurse in the US, who rushed to treat a ‘code blue’ Covid-19 patient with just a thin surgical mask? She could have gone to get herself an N95 mask to better protect her self, but then her patient might not survive. She chose her patient over her own safety.

The nurse later died of Covid-19.

But then again such profound accounts of sacrifices are so common these days that we rarely think about the dangers and risks healthcare workers put themselves in every time they step into a hospital. Especially nurses who work most closely with infected patients.

The International Council of Nurses said last week that it believes at least 90,000 healthcare workers had been infected and more than 260 nurses had died in the Covid-19 pandemic so far.

Major global leaders looked on helplessly as their most dutiful and royal helpers died of the unprecedented pandemic.

Nurses in action

In Maldives, we must work to make sure that our nurses are protected from such a fate by ensuring that our system is not overwhelmed.

Nurses are the backbone of the healthcare system in the Maldives. Government data from 2018 showed that there are more than 2880 nurses working in the country. Data showed that 46 percent of the nurses work in the Male’ area while 54 percent chose to practice nursing in the atolls.

The data also showed that 59 percent of the healthcare personnel in the country are represented by nurses.

54 Percent nurses practising in the Atolls

At last night’s NEOC press briefing, the center's spokesperson Mohamed Mabrook Azeez revealed a chilling piece of information. He said 21 nurses from IGMH have been placed under isolation after coming into contact with Covid-19 patients. Earlier, IGMH have announced that a nurse and a doctor from the hospital had tested positive for Covid-19.

These are personnel the country cannot afford to lose right with its fight against global pandemic Covid-19 intensifying with each passing day.

The country needs all of its nurses to overcome the greatest hurdle it has faced in recent times.

Health officials have put many SOPs in place to safeguard the wellbeing of healthcare professionals especially nurses. They have procured safety equipment, carried out training sessions and honed practices to better prepare for the worst of the pandemic.

The worst is still yet to come.

With the country’s capital city under a lockdown for almost a month now, the growing pandemic is yet to slow down. Recently, the number of daily cases has been growing day by day with experts declaring it a mini-surge of Covid-19. Experts have also predicted that the surge would peak in the coming days and quite nearly overwhelm out fragile healthcare system. A scenario no country wants to see. A scenario that would leave so many nurses at such great dangers.

21 Nurses from IGMH under isolation

As we mark the International Nurses day, how can the nation honor the sacrificing the country’s nurses are making today?

By staying indoors unless absolutely necessary. By wearing masks if or when we step outside. By maintaining social distancing while we run our errands.

And of course by thoroughly washing our hands as frequently as we can.

So let us to do our parts, let us show our beloved nurses that we care enough for their safety that we would heed the instructions from the authorities and would remain indoors. That we value their sacrifices and are willing to do as much as we can to make sure that they are risking their lives not in vain.

Let us show our nurses that we the nation have got their backs.