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By Parrick Yarde
President of GPSU
International Nurses Day May 12 2021 is being observed at a time when these most vulnerable and essential human resources – the health care workers would have recently completed one year battling to suppress the ravishing and deadly effects of Covid 19 virus here in Guyana. Worldwide, their colleagues have also faced the assignment of providing quality healthcare to the victims of this deadly virus, which is unique in many ways and though vaccines have been approved for use the infection continues to spread with deaths occurring in many territories, including here in Guyana.
This responsibility that has been entrusted to health care professionals, including nurses, has been assigned in an irresponsible, insensitive, reckless and uncaring manner, inadequate training and no orientation, no PPEs and deficiencies that have contributed to the death of front line workers. Here, I must refer to the theme for 2021: “Nurses: – A Voice to Lead – A Vision for the Future Healthcare”.
In Guyana, our nurses have braved the challenges selflessly and have responded to their tasks positively and efficiently, even though there were inadequate supplies of PPEs and other necessary materials; they did not let up, they are continuing to provid quality health care putting themselves and their families at great risk, and in some cases their lives. Only recently one of our dear members became a fatality.
The sterling contributions our nurses provide to this nation to deescalate Covid 19 has been second to none. This is being done together with the vast amount of other responsibilities that are ongoing in our health care system.
This is being done while they are being treated in a most insensitive and uncaring manner. They are not in receipt of a risk allowances which is fully merited; they have not been in receipt of salary increase for two years to be able to discharge their duties and protect their households from infection. It is necessary for them to incur additional expenses apart from the price increases that are being experienced for consumption goods.
Why is it that Nurses receive so little when so much is expected of them?
This is the predicament Nurses are currently faced with and their employer, the Government, is fully aware of this crisis situation but choses to do nothing to improve their lives and livelihood. Instead, there is willful suffocation and persistent neglect for these most hardworking, lifesaving essential human resource personnel in our country.
It is therefore imperative that nursing personnel within the health care system in Guyana be given priority attention and the Guyana Public Service Union calls on the Government of Guyana to make adequate provisions for improved delivery of healthcare and the corresponding compensatory benefits. It is time!
Let me restate to the Nurses here in Guyana and the rest of the world, thank you for your dedicated and quality service; thank you for your commitment; thank you for your bravery in this deadly prevailing international environment and your resolute patience. You all deserve our greatest and sincere appreciation and respect. The services you provide in saving lives, keeping the hospitals and healthcare centres open, comfort to patients and reassurances to their families, are all priceless.
On behalf of the Executive Council, Membership and Staff of the Guyana Public Service Union I salute you all. I would also like to take this opportunity to extend best wishes for a pleasant, safe and healthy International Nurses Day 2021 to you and your families.