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A nurse preparing to vaccinate. Picture: Sunday Times/Sebabatso Mosamo
A nurse preparing to vaccinate. Picture: Sunday Times/Sebabatso Mosamo

On Saturday evening a man managed to disarm a policeman at Somerset hospital and shoot him and two other people dead. All three victims died in an environment that is supposed to ensure healing and care. 

In the midst of this tragedy a story of heroism emerged. Shortly after the man had shot the three victims, a nurse was able to persuade him to surrender the weapon. As a result of her courage she saved many patients from what could have led to more loss of life.

While the story is a singular event in the healthcare sector, it highlights something far more important: the continual hard work of nursing staff. And for that reason we all should pause for a moment and celebrate International Nurses Day in honour of the thousands of individuals who serve our communities. 

This year marks a time of stabilisation and return to normal after more than two years of battling the Covid-19 pandemic. When others were in lockdown, our nurses joined the more than 32,000 healthcare workers risking their lives to continue providing the essential services that saved countless lives. 

However, this hasn’t come without sacrifice. By the end of March, 209 healthcare workers had died as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, many of them nurses. These brave individuals died fighting for us. 

While society now finds itself in the endemic stages of Covid-19, we should allow today to contemplate the immense tasks our nurses have endured over the past few years and the pressures they will continue to face. We salute them.

Wendy Kaizer-Philander, MPP, DA Western Cape health spokesperson, and chair of the provincial standing committee on health. 

JOIN THE DISCUSSION: Send us an email with your comments to letters@businesslive.co.za. Letters of more than 300 words will be edited for length. Anonymous correspondence will not be published. Writers should include a daytime telephone number. 


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