HSA to honour nurses and midwives

Registered neonatal nurse Kerry Bennett-Reed attends to a new-born. - Photo: Stephen Clarke

Cayman’s Health Services Authority is taking on the World Health Organization’s 2020 initiative called the ‘Year of the Nurse and Midwife’ in honour of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale.

Starting in 2020, the HSA says it wants to highlight nurses and midwives across Cayman by recognising their staff and informing the public about the field of nursing.

This sustainable initiative is significant to WHO for the strengthening of universal health coverage.

WHO reported that internationally, the world needs 9 million more nurses and midwives, to achieve universal health coverage by 2030. WHO says midwifery could avert more than 80% of all maternal deaths, stillbirths and neonatal deaths.

“The WHO has provided a unique opportunity both for countries to demonstrate how much they appreciate their nurses and midwives, and to showcase what more nurses and midwives can achieve if given the support to do so. Investing in nursing and midwifery will make an enormous contribution to the rapid, cost-effective and high-quality scaling up of universal healthcare,” Lord Nigel Crisp, co-chair of the Nursing Now campaign said.

Responding to an enquiry from the Cayman Compass, the HSA agreed there is a need for nurses and midwives locally and globally. A spokesperson said, as the nursing workforce ages and retires, fewer people are entering the profession than are leaving it.

Chemotherapy nurse Andrew Ward and patient Eyleen Pino.

The HSA currently employs 194 nurses, 30% of whom are Caymanian. It also employs 21 midwives, 24% of whom are Caymanian.

The HSA stated that nursing is a critical part of any healthcare workforce and the global shortage of nurses is having a big impact on all healthcare provisions.

In highlighting this profession, the authority hope to raise the profile of nurses and awareness to the population.

“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for governments to really show nurses and midwives how much they are valued; not by empty words, but by effective, decisive action to give us the human and physical resources needed to get the job done,” Crisp said.

Starting in 2020, the HSA will be celebrating the contribution of nurses and midwives by a variety of activities, including nurses’ awards, revitalisation of a nursing conference, and a nursing career fair, among other sustainable initiatives.