DURBAN – As today, May 12, marks International Nurses Day, we remember and pay tribute to those who have lost their lives due to the Coronavirus.
Beloved local nurse Petronella “Aunty Nellie” Benjamin was the first health professional in the Western Cape to die as a result of Covid-19 related complications. The 62-year-old, Eersteriver nurse died a day before she was due to retire after decades of service as a healthcare professional.
Originally from KwaZulu-Natal, Tygerberg Hospital nurse, Ntombizakithi Ngidi, was the second nurse to die from Covid-19 in the Western Cape.
Josephine Manini Peter, a South African nurse, died on April 18 after she contracted Covid-19 while on duty at a hospital in the UK. According to friends Peter had been planning a return to SA and had applied for a ticket back home before Covid-19 started. The 55-year-old nurse was originally from Tsakane, Ekurhuleni and had been living in the UK for 18 years.
Tygerberg Hospital will mark the day with a special programme to honour those that have passed away due to Covid-19 and others who continue to be of service to communities during a time of crisis.
There will also be a special lighting of the Florence Nightingale Lamp in honour of the two nurses who have passed away in the Western Cape. The candlelight and reading of the Nurses Pledge of Service will take place later this morning at the same time across the country.
In commemorating this day, the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) said they would be paying special tribute saluting the hardworking and selfless of nurses in South Africa.
“The sterling work of South African nurses has lived up to the theme of this year: “Nurses: A voice to Lead – Nursing the world to health”. This theme could not have been more prophetic as nurses have been at the forefront of pushing back the frontiers of this virus from our communities. For this, we celebrate all nurses in the country and commend them for the great work they continue to put in despite the many challenges that they are faced within the workplace,” said Denosa.
According to Health Minister Zweli Mkhize, a total of 511 South African health workers have tested positive for Covid-19, 26 have been hospitalised.
“I pay tribute to all our health workers. They have done a great job. We bow our heads and salute you. We appreciate all the work you are doing. Both public and private health workers are one,” said Mkhize.
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