Nurses from Africa Health Research Institute (AHRI) and the Department of Health gathered at the AHRI-Durban campus on Thursday, May 12 to celebrate International Nurses Day.

The 2022 theme was ‘Nurses: A Voice to Lead – Invest in Nursing and respect rights to secure global health’. A candle was lit as a representation of the symbolic lamp, and nurses took the Nurses’ Pledge to serve with conscience and dignity.

Opening the celebration, AHRI director for clinical science, Professor Maryam Shahmanesh, commented that she is proud of all the nurses at AHRI, and hopes that they continue to lead and secure the right to global health. She also emphasised that we must invest in nursing, as nurses lead healthcare delivery globally.

Guest speaker, University of KwaZulu-Natal honorary associate professor Busisiwe Bhengu, highlighted in her address the importance of supporting nurses and respecting nurses’ rights.

“The challenges that have been brought to light by the pandemic in our health systems are not new to nurses. Nurses are working under very trying conditions, the environment is rife with infection, with conditions of shortages of resources, and high workloads,” said Prof Bhengu. “Nurses need a positive environment, with mitigated threat of infection, adequate resources, and the competencies of nurses must be maintained. We need to keep on learning and supporting each other because we can never underemphasise the need to care for the carers,“ she added.

Congratulations to AHRI nurse Mbali Mbuyisa, this year’s recipient of the annual Mama Dudu Biyela Award. This award, which is voted on by nursing colleagues, seeks to honour a nurse who has given exemplary service and is a role model to others.

(Above: Mbali Mbuyisa, this year’s recipient of the annual Mama Dudu Biyela Award, receives the award from AHRI’s Nonhlanhla Okesola)

“As Prof Bhengu mentioned, our profession is not an easy one – but we chose it because we love it, and we love our patients. I am honoured to receive this award today; I wasn’t expecting it at all,” she said. “I would like to thank my colleagues and AHRI management for deeming me worthy of this award. I would also encourage them to keep doing the work we do with love and respect.”

Top photo: AHRI’s Siphephelo Dlamini, Nonhlanhla Okesola, guest speaker Prof Busisiwe Bhengu, AHRI’s Dr Thandeka Khoza, and the Department of Health’s Matron Gugu Mngomezulu, representing the management of Hlabisa Hospital