How are you marking World Humanitarian Day? Whether you’re raising awareness at your place of work or plan to quietly celebrate humanitarian workers as you go about your daily routine, the annual event is close to the hearts of many nurses, including our head office staff here at Richmond Nursing.
This year’s theme is Women Humanitarians, honouring the actions of women in crises across the world. On Monday 19th August, we’ll be thinking of the unsung heroes working both on the front line in war zones and in their communities, helping others while facing the most difficult conditions themselves. 2019 is a particularly important time to focus on women, against a backdrop of global trafficking and a lack of access to basic rights, such as education and sanitary products, for many women and girls.
World Humanitarian Day came about following the bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad on August 19 2003, in which 22 colleagues died. Established five years later, the annual event’s aim is to highlight the millions of people whose lives have been caught up in conflict, including aid workers, nurses and other health professionals.
The working conditions of our fellow nurses in war-torn countries across the globe can be hard to imagine. Medical supplies are frequently hijacked, hospitals and ambulances bombed, and humanitarian workers detained, kidnapped or hurt. According to international organisation Concern, in 2016 alone there were 158 major attacks against aid operations, killing 101 aid workers and injuring 98, while a further 89 were kidnapped.
Health workers also put their lives on the line to help patients during outbreaks of contagious disease. In 2014, Scottish nurse Pauline Cafferkey contracted Ebola whilst working in a treatment centre in Sierra Leone. Almost 4,000 people died during the crisis; Cafferkey herself recovered, only to relapse and develop meningitis. After returning to Sierra Leone in 2017 to raise money for orphaned children, she now lives in Glasgow and this month gave birth to twin boys.
We’d love to hear your plans to mark World Humanitarian Day, particularly if you’ve returned to nursing in Wales after a spell as an aid worker or volunteer abroad. Get in touch with Richmond Nursing today, call us on 01554 756148 or share your news with us on Twitter!