On International Day of Mourning the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation and the End COVID for All campaign have paid tribute to the 3,000 nurses across the world who have died from COVID-19 since the pandemic began.
According to the Federation, the number of nurses who have died since the pandemic began is more than the total of nurses who died throughout the entirety of World War 1.
“Nurses around the world have been at the forefront during the fight against COVID-19. Today, we stop and reflect on their extraordinary commitment, dedication and the sacrifices they made for those people in their care,” ANMF Acting Federal Secretary, Lori-Anne Sharp, said today.
“Sadly, their efforts in caring for people suffering from COVID-19 has come at a considerable cost, with thousands of nurses across the world losing their lives. And we must honour their service to the community.”
“Many nurses across the region are exhausted and depleted. They have been running on adrenaline to keep their communities healthy and stop the spread of COVID-19. A lot of nurses are experiencing burnout and stress, related to the pandemic response.”
Ms Sharp said there must be increased investment in the size and training of the Asia-Pacific health workforce and sufficient supplies of vital Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), adequate fit testing and access to appropriate diagnostic and medical equipment.
“We need a serious financial and political commitment to expand nurse numbers and provide nurses with the training and equipment needed to provide safe patient care and prevent healthcare worker infections.”
The End COVID for All campaign is calling for the Commonwealth government to invest at least $1 billion to boost the COVID-ravaged health systems of the Asia-Pacific, to better support nurses and their patients on the frontlines of the pandemic.
Reverend Tim Costello, of the End COVID for All campaign, said the Australian government could do its part to strengthen the regional effort.
“Right now in Papua New Guinea, top health experts warn we could have one million COVID cases within weeks. In this crisis it’s hard to think of a smarter investment than in nurses and health support for our near neighbours,” he said.
“Whilst the Australian government have made a contribution in the region, they can and must go further. We must invest in the nurses, hospitals and health equipment that gets our mates in nations like PNG through this crisis and helps them to rebuild for the future.”