2020 marks the first International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife. Highly skilled, multi-faceted and diverse, nurses and midwives make up the largest proportion of the global health workforce.
In the midst of COVID-19, nurses and midwives are supporting one another to challenge misinformation and protect our health. As the pandemic sweeps the globe, nurses are on the front lines of the response and are going above and beyond to keep health systems functional.
We are honoured to share the experiences of those on the frontlines during these uncertain and challenging times.
“Continuing to work as usual has been quite a challenging endeavour during this period of the corona virus pandemic. As frontline health workers, midwives are more vulnerable to getting infected with the deadly virus due to the nature of our work; in assisting during labour and childbirth. When this pandemic was declared in Uganda, the government instituted a country-wide lockdown as one of the measures to curb the spread of the disease. Little did I know that this would greatly impact my work as a midwife.” – Catherine Namutosi, Senior Nursing Officer (Midwifery), China-Uganda Friendship Hospital, Naguru
“As the world struggles to deal with the Coronavirus crisis, nurses and midwives in Somaliland are even more vulnerable as they have no resources, expertise, or experience on how to deal with an emergency of this magnitude. They have no masks, gloves, disinfectants sanitizers, and have never even seen a respirator. All they have is the power of their hearts.” – Edna Adan Ismail, Founder, Edna Adan Hospital and University, Somaliland
“Health collaboration and co-operation has never been more pertinent as it is today. The wake of COVID-19 has cut across boundaries and broken down barriers at every social sector. Global health is facing its biggest challenge; therefore, the concerted effort of experts at world-wide, regional and local
levels that cut across race, cultures, ethnicity and gender is essential and needed more than ever.” – Kade Mondeh, Consultant Midwife, Barts Health Trust, UK
“As midwives, we are headed for a very uncomfortable time of our lives as all of our work involves body contact (exposing us to the virus), lessening social distancing for own protection. When the pandemic broke out, the public were relegated to a life of long home stays devoid of the usual activity we are all used to and many of us have almost settled into the new schedules brought about by the crisis. But this does not apply to our profession.” – Agnes Nakyanzi and Mwebaza Enid, LAMRN Uganda
“Never did I imagine that the year of the Nurse would include playing a huge roll in a pandemic. The pandemic has led to nurses all around the country, and I’m sure around the world, being redeployed to work in areas they haven’t practiced in for many years. Over the last couple of weeks, my wider networks of colleagues have been part of the movement of people that have put a roof over the heads of some of London’s homeless. Working in TB we look after some of our society’s most marginalised and vulnerable people and this is even more critical at a time like this. But more than anything, it has shown the variety of roles that a nurse can play within society.” – Jessica, Clinical Nurse Specialist, UK
“In this time of crisis when health services around the world are under unprecedented pressure, due to Covid-19, nurses and midwives can be relied upon to rise to the challenge. They put concerns about their own health aside and, with enthusiasm and compassion, tirelessly work with phenomenal colleagues to focus on caring for the sick and anxious. I am so proud of my profession.” – Judith Ellis, Nurse and THET Chair of Trustees