Message by Hon. Volda Lawrence,Minister of Public Health on International Day of the Nurse

2020, May 12, 2020.

THEME: Nurses: A Voice to Lead Nursing the World to Health

Today May 12th, 2020 marks the International Day of the Nurse, coinciding with the 200th birth Anniversary of the Lady with the Lamp, Florence Nightingale, pioneer of Modern Nursing. I wish to take this opportunity with the rest of the world to say Happy Nurses’ Day in recognition of this stalwart cadre of Health Care Professionals, and more particularly to salute our workforce of nurses in Guyana expressing praise and thanks to you for the tremendous work you are doing for our nation.

Your tenacity and courage, at this critical time when the Coronavirus disease is deepening its fangs in our beloved country, are demonstrative of your care, consideration and commitment to health for all our people throughout the ten administrative Regions of our country.

The International Council of Nurses has chosen as its theme for this year’s celebration “NURSES: A VOICE TO LEAD NURSING THE WORLD TO HEALTH”, a significant and fitting slogan especially in the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic , where nurses worldwide and in Guyana too, are at the frontline battling tenaciously and selflessly to save the lives of those who have contracted the dreadful disease.

At the 72nd session of the World Health Assembly, the year 2020 was designated International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife to give deserving recognition to you, underpinning  Director General of the WHO, Dr. Tedros’ affirmation that  Nurses and Midwives  are the backbone  of every health system and that Governments and countries worldwide must invest in our nurses and midwives.

Significantly, this year will also see the publication of the first WHO State of the World’s Nursing Report.

Today provides us with the opportunity to re-examine where we are in relation to the quality of service and support provided by our nurses to those who need them most. Since Nightingale’s time Nurses and Midwives have played a vital role in providing health services.

You are the people who devote your lives to caring for mothers and children; giving lifesaving immunizations and health advice; looking after the elderly and generally meeting everyday essential health needs.

You are often, the first and only point of care in your communities. This is the Power that you possess as Nurses! Yes, you are an ever-present force for good! As a “force” for change, the value of your contribution has been recognized globally; this is the “power” or “voice” you possess to change the world.

Nurses in Guyana, you are a part of the 20.7 million nurses and midwives across the world. In fact, you make up more than 50% of the human resource for health and therefore have the potential to effect positive global changes towards Universal Health Coverage. (WHO 2016).

Each of you brings your own uniqueness, character and competency to the profession, and has a different story to tell – Stories of the start of life the end of life, of truth and error, or pain and suffering, of joy and sadness, and magnificence! And I know we have many Nightingales around.

So, the Ministry of Public Health wishes to take this opportunity to acknowledge your diligence of service beyond the call of duty to ensure that your patients are satisfied, your traversing the rough terrains of Regions 1, 2, 3, 6, 7,8,9 and 10 to accompany your patients for higher levels of care; Yes, we see those who have voluntarily decided to risk their lives and that of their household to fight COVID-19 – to save the life of their fellow Guyanese!

I salute you today on this International Nurses’ Day, and let me hasten to remind some of you, that hard work pays good dividends, what you do today for others will help in the fulfillment of your career dream tomorrow.

As we address COVID-19 we thank God for all our Nurses and Midwives in the workplace. Notwithstanding this fact, we hasten to join our voices with our brothers and sisters in other lands to pay tribute to the Nurses who have succumbed to COVID-19.

As we move forward today, I call upon all Nurses and Midwives to remove barriers to care for the most vulnerable in our society. I’m talking about the elderly, the immune-compromised, those who are differently abled, and those who choose to be different in their sexual orientation from us.

I implore you Nurses and Midwives to comply with the Nursing standards – in areas of education, practice and regulation.

I encourage you to showcase achievements and best practices and promote your champions. I call upon you to raise up mentor and leaders for the next generation.

Most importantly, please keep safe – wear your mask, wash your hands, wear your PPE, and keep your physical distancing as you reach out to those in need.

On behalf of the Ministry of Public Health, we wish to applaud your indefatigable efforts to keep Guyana safe. We are in solidarity with you, and so today, at 5pm we will observe that 1 minute by blowing our whistles or blaring our horns to let you know how firmly we stand with you.

Keep up the good work. Happy International Day of the Nurses, 2020! May God bless you all!


COVID-19 Alert!

Coronavirus disease spreads primarily through contact with an infected person when they cough or sneeze. It also spreads when a person touches a surface or object that has the virus on it, then touches their eyes, nose, or mouth. We urge citizens to practice good hygiene and social or physical distancing also adhere to the guidelines provided by the Ministry of Health, Guyana.