Nurses in St. Vincent and the Grenadines had more reasons to smile amidst a challenging year, thanks to the generosity of Coreas Distribution Ltd. (CDL) and Campari.
On Dec. 22, the entities presented each of 738 nurses in SVG with an EC$50 voucher, a total value of $37,000.
Speaking at the presentation ceremony in Kingstown, Chief Nursing Officer Peggy Da Silva said that when the 72nd World Health Assembly declared 2020 the international year of the nurse and midwife, no one envisioned anything as unprecedented and unpredictable as COVID-19.
“And as if that was not enough, along came dengue fever,” she spoke of the outbreak that has claimed seven lives and resulted in hospitalisation of scores of others.
Da Silva said that nurses have risen, as expected, to the challenges and impacts.
“Nurses, I know that you have gone above and beyond your call of duty on numerous occasions to ensure that the health and wellbeing of our nation is protected and, in some cases, restored, in spite of and despite your very own anxieties, fears and being discriminated against.”
She likened CDL to the Good Samaritan, “who came along, picked us up, bandaged our wounds and brought us to your inn and what better time to do it than at Christmas. What better time to prove your love than at Christmas”.
And, Jimmy Forde, chief executive of CDL said that Campari wanted to do something for the people on the frontline.
Initially Campari was donating US$3,000 which CDL was matching, for a total of EC$16,000
However, after negotiations with Da Silva, they ended up with the EC$37,000 package.
“And by the time we finished knocking it around, she was able to move me from EC$16,000 to EC$37,000. So you have in your leadership a very strong, creative innovative leader.
“And I said, what the heck, nurses save lives on a daily basis. In this time of COVID and dengue and all the other issues out there, we are nothing without our nurses and we feel that they are not given enough appreciation and respect of the contribution they are making to our civilisation and we, at Coreas Distribution and Campari, want to say that for this very difficult and challenging year, 2020, we want to bring a spark and find some way to add to your Christmas and say have a merry Christmas,” Forde said.
“And in so doing, we’re contributing 37,000 to give each of the nurses a $50 voucher. This is a token of our appreciation for the work you do, for the lives you save, for the lives you make better,” he said and spoke of his personal experiences of being nursed back to health more than once.
And, Minister of Health, St. Clair Jimmy Prince expressed his ministry’s appreciation for the gesture.
“It’s not often that you have the private sector partnering with government institutions to say ‘thank you very much’.
“Over the years we have had a lot of criticism; most of it unfair in respect of the work that nurses do and nobody had come forward in this way to say forget about that, we appreciate the work that nurses do. And the private sector, particularly Coreas Distribution Ltd. and Campari, they are made up of flesh and blood Vincentians who represent the public and if they say that there is a need to honour nurses for the work that they have been doing, then this is the [view] of the whole society and I thank them very much,” Prince said.
He said the world is experiencing maybe its greatest public health challenge, and nurses have stuck to the task, and have done what they are supposed to.
“In fact, you have done better than you are expected to do. This is a small country with little resources and it is probably not possible for the government to match the private sector’s contribution. But I hope that time will come when we are able to do that,” the minister said, adding that he hoped the token will go a long way in boosting nurses’ morale.