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Former first lady warns nurses against killing services for the love of money …as health ministry hosts inaugural nurses excellency awards

by Kelvin Chiringa

Former first lady of Namibia, Penehupifo Pohamba has issued strong words for the country’s nurses pleading with them against compromising service delivery for the love of money.

She was speaking at last week’s inaugural nurses’ excellence awards held in Windhoek in celebration of the international nurses’ day themed, “Nurses A Voice to Lead – Health is a Human right.” 

“Nursing is a humbling profession and a noble career and we have seen improvements in the health service. Without qualified and competent nurses, that breakthrough is meaningless,” she said.  

Madam Pohamba reiterated that the prioritisation of money comes especially at such times when the economy is in a melt down, but insisted that, “A god name is better than millions of dollars.” 

“We have good and better nurses but I will put them in the category of “Great-nurses”. A great nurse should possess good communication skills and be a good listener. A great nurse should be emotionally stable. A great nurse makes a patient to recover and has empathy for the suffering patient,” she said in exhortation.   

She also said that the profession often requires working long periods of overtime, during weekends and night shifts and hence requires flexibility. 

“Nothing should be left to chance,” said the first lady to an attentive audience, “A simple mistake can lead to tragedy. Nurses are the bond that holds hospitals together.”

She urged them to remain united in the face of challenges adding that they ought to be reprimanded where they go wrong and encouraged. 

In that light, she urged the media to take the lead in reporting positive developments within the profession without superimposing negative coverage.

Also speaking at the awards ceremony, deputy health minister and a nurse by right, Juliet Kavetuna said, “We have responded to a call that is not equal to any.” 

Meanwhile, Karas based nurse, Clive Moses stole the night by walking home with the Nurse of the year award as well as the best male nurse award.

International Nurses Day (IND) is celebrated every year all around the world on 12th of May to commemorate the birth anniversary of the Florence Nightingale and to mark the nurses’ contributions towards people’s health.

 Nurses Day was first proposed by Dorothy Sutherland (an officer from the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare) in the year 1953 and first proclaimed by the President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and it was first celebrated by the International Council of Nurses (ICN) in the year 1965.