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The largest group of health workers in the world, nurses, form the backbone of health systems everywhere. That is why each year on May 12, the birthday of the founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale, the world comes together to celebrate International Nurses Day.

This year, the International Council of Nurses has announced the theme of the day to be “Nurses: A Voice To Lead”. Considering the inspiring and brave contributions of nurses to saving lives throughout the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, to pay tribute and make visible the leading role of nurses in improving the health and well-being of people around the world is certainly more warranted than ever before.

During the past decade, the Directorate General of Nursing and Midwifery of the Government of Bangladesh has taken enormous strides in laying the foundation for a strong nursing and midwifery system in Bangladesh. UNFPA has had the honour of playing a key role in supporting the Government in ensuring that nurses in health facilities around the country have the capacity to provide quality sexual and reproductive health care, particularly to pregnant women and women of reproductive age.

During COVID-19, we have also made critical contributions to building the capacity of nurses on Infection Control and Prevention. Moreover, we have increased the knowledge of nurses on mental health issues and helped them cope with the extreme stress they are performing under amidst COVID-19.

As we cope with the challenges posed by these unprecedented and unpredictable circumstances, UNPFA is determined to contribute progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals we have collectively set for ourselves by 2030. Making visible the critical role of nurses in maintaining the health of the entire population of Bangladesh will be essential in building back better after the pandemic.

The sub-theme of International Nurses Day this year is “A Vision for Future Healthcare”. We believe that by continuing to empower nurses and making them more active participants in decision making processes at the health sector, Bangladesh will be able to build a resilient national health system that is able to overcome any crises and challenges it may face in the future.

By investing in quality nursing, alongside strong midwifery services, we can build a Bangladesh, where universal sexual and reproductive health and rights are enjoyed by all.

I thank you.


This message was originally published by The Ittefaq, The Daily Jonokontho, Amader Notun Shomoy and DGNM Portal.