For World Health Day 2020, the World Health Organization is celebrating the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife. Right now, nurses and midwives are working shoulder to shoulder with all health care workers at ground zero of the largest pandemic in modern history.
Health care workers are working overtime, playing a critical role for their patients across the country and around the world, often without access to adequate personal protective equipment.
“These essential health care workers are making unimaginable sacrifices, losing time with their loved ones, and risking their own health,” said Canadian Labour Congress President Hassan Yussuff. “At a time when these workers are being asked to go above and beyond – sometimes acting as the only support for patients because of quarantine – we need to make sure they have every piece of equipment they need to reduce their own risk and any risk to their families.”
Canada’s unions stand in solidarity with all health care workers. These jobs are always challenging – with a lack of funding, threat of violence in the workplace, the trauma and stress faced by many, and an ongoing shortage of professionals – but more challenging now than perhaps ever before.
“We need to pay tribute to these workers, and demonstrate our thanks by following the best advice of public health officials – washing our hands, not touching our faces, and staying home whenever possible,” said Yussuff. “We owe it to all essential workers to do everything we can to stop the spread of COVID-19.”
At the end of this crisis, when the recovery starts, Canada’s unions will continue to press for adequate funding to ensure health care workers always have what they need to provide Canadians with the best possible care. This includes funding for national, public pharmacare, which would reduce hospital visits from those who can’t afford to take their medications as prescribed.