“Without nurses and other health workers, we will not win the battle against epidemic outbreaks”: Dr. Harsh Vardhan

New Delhi: On the occasion of the International Nurses Day, which also marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale, Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health & Family Welfarepresided over the celebrations through video conference, here today. This year is also significant as World Health Organization (WHO) has declared it as the ‘Year of the Nurse and the Midwife’. Several lakh nurses were connected online for this event.

Appreciating the work and selfless dedication of the nursing professionals, and calling them the strong and pivotal pillars of the healthcare delivery system, Dr Harsh Vardhan, said, “The depth of your work and sincerity cannot be defined adequately, such is your commitment.Thank you allfor your kindness, dedication & healing touch and always putting patients first, no matter how gruelling the day.”He also expressed gratitude for their stellar and continuous work during the ongoing pandemic. “Without nurses and other health workers, we will not win the battle against outbreaks; we will not achieve the Sustainable Development Goals or universal health coverage,” he stated.

Dr. Harsh Vardhan lauded the strengths of nurseswhich are being put to great challenge in COVID days.He said, “I am reminded today of bravehearts like Smt. Jyoti Vithal Raksha, Staff Nurse, Pune; Mrs. Anita Govindrao Rathod, Assistant Matron, Pune; and Ms. Margaret, Nursing Officer, ESI Hospital, Jhilmil, whom we have recently lost. I offer my condolences to their families. I also stand with you to resolve that we will continue to fight this disease, keep our moral high, and also take necessary precautions and trainings to protect ourselves by following protocols.”

Dr. Harsh Vardhan said commitment at the highest levels of the Government, led by the Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi is leading the government’s response against COVID-19. He stated that to protect the frontline healthcare workers, an Ordinance has been promulgated to protect the healthcare personnel against any violence.The Ordinance provides for making such acts of violence cognizable and non-bailable offences and for compensation for injury to healthcare service personnel or for causing damage or loss to the property in which healthcare service personnel may have a direct interest in relation to the epidemic.Commission or abetment of such acts of violence shall be punished with imprisonment for a term of three months to five years, and with fine of Rs. 50,000/- to Rs.2,00,000/-. In case of causing grievous hurt, imprisonment shall be for a term six months to seven years and with fine of Rs.1,00,000/- to Rs.5,00,000/-. In addition, the offender shall also be liable to pay compensation to the victim and twice the fair market value for damage of property. Additionally, the Government has also approved ‘Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package: Insurance Scheme for Health Workers Fighting COVID-19’ to provide an insurance cover of Rs. 50 lakh for ninety (90) days to a total of around 22.12 lakh public healthcare providers, including community health workers, who may have to be in direct contact and care of COVID-19 patients and who may be at risk of being impacted by this. It will also include accidental loss of life on account of contacting COVID-19.

He also stated that in today’s scenario, nurses need to apprise themselves of all the protocols, information about this disease, about infection prevention and control, so that, not only they can protect themselves ably, but also provide the best advice to one and all. He also urged that nurses should take full benefits from the various webinars organised by AIIMS, Delhi and the Indian Nursing Council.

Ms. Preeti Sudan, Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, Shri Arun Singhal, Special Secretary, Shri NipunVinayak Joint Secretary, Shri T Dileep Kumar, President, Indian Nursing Council, New Delhi, Smt. G. K. Khurana, Secretary General, All India Government Nurses Federation, New Delhi, Mrs. Annie Kumar, Vice President-North Region, Trained Nurses Association of India, Ms. Geeta Rani, A N M, All India Federation of ANM LHVs, Ms. Thressa Haldani, President, Delhi Chapter, Society of Midwives of India, Lt. Col. Sarabjeet Kaur, Secretary, Indian Nursing Council, New Delhialong with other officials from various Nursing Federations/Associations and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare were also present.