The class oriented Trade Union International for Public Service and Allied (TUI-PS&A) pays tribute to the millions of nurses, midwives and the general fraternity across the world who, daily face great odds in their endeavour to care for the sick and promote good health in communities.

The International Nurses Day commemorates the life and struggle of Florence Nightingale, born on the 12th of May 1820, in Florence, Italy. Like Florence Nightingale, the nurses and midwives of today continue to engage in an unending struggle to revolutionize nursing and save countless lives. In the year 2020, the international nurses’ day is celebrated by WHO under the theme: “Nurses a catalyst for a brighter future for health around the globe” which as the TUI PS&A aligned ourselves with.

The world is facing an unprecedented moment in human history, a moment probably not seen since the outbreak and spread of the Spanish flu of 1918 and the Great Depression of 1929.  In most countries around the world we have seen inadequate responses to the provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) to these gallant white coat fighters. COVID-19 has also exposed the failures of the capitalist system in providing universal health care for humanity around the world. The effects of which will be worse is developing countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. The world health organisation already predicts a tragedy in most African counties because of poverty inequality and pre-existing diseases like TB, diabetes, and HIV.

In a world dominated by imperialist greed which puts profit before people’s lives, the modern day healthcare system is not without its challenges. Currently, the healthcare systems of all capitalist countries are fighting a losing battle against COVID -19 because for years, the Neoliberal policies have compelled nation states to outsource important components of health care, reduce its workforce and cut the overall spending in the social functions of states.

Just like Florence Nightingale, the nurses and midwives of today are engaged in a relentless struggle for properly stocked hospitals, hygienic conditions in health facilities, adequate training of nurses, and proper treatment of patients and employment of adequate personnel. We have seen an increase in the number of nurses testing positive for COVID 19 due to lack of adequate protective gears, screening and testing in workplaces around the world. As a result, many lives of nurses have been lost.

Under the new conditions brought about by the Coronavirus, Nurses and Midwives are presently waging a twin struggle to improve healthcare while simultaneously being called upon to put their lives in danger as they take a lead in the fight against the global coronavirus, all without sufficient and adequate protective personal equipment.

As we salute the nursing profession for the vital role it continues to play in nursing the world, the TUI-PS&A calls upon all nurses and midwives to join it in the struggle to fight and defeat the twin evils of capitalism and its highest stage, imperialism, and in its place put a more people centered and a more human system-socialism. Like Nightingale who fought for properly stocked hospitals, hygienic conditions in health facilities, adequate training of nurses, and proper treatment of patients. Indeed, today nurses are still engaging in the same struggle waging in efforts to improve healthcare and their working conditions while simultaneously being called upon by circumstances to put their lives in danger and take a lead in the fight against the global coronavirus.

In this regard, TUI-PS&A condemns cuts in the public healthcare system cuts as such leads to shortage of beds and vital supplies in hospitals, and vehemently opposed the idea of regarding the sick as a business opportunity to be taken an advantage of through private healthcare provision. This has led to a situation in which only a few rich elites have access to the best quality healthcare in many countries.

The TUI PS&A as a component of the class oriented family of the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) believes that in recognising the nursing fraternity and honouring contributions made by nurses in society, we should call on all workers to join in celebrating this international day to demand for:

  • An end in cuts on public spending, healthcare and other social functions of nation states.
  • Adequate stock and staff in all healthcare facilities
  • A stop to the privatisation of healthcare
  • Safe working conditions and decent wages salaries for all healthcare workers in particular nurses.
  • Protection of the trade union rights for all healthcare workers.
  • Collective bargaining and organisational rights for all trade unions in both the public and private health sectors.
  • Provision of Personal Personal Equipment (PPEs) for all nurses, doctors, porters, cleaners, ambulance drivers, admin workers, contact tracers and community healthcare workers in fieldwork and many others who are frontline providers of essential health service that are detecting, testing, isolating and treating patients in the fight against COVID-19.

As the TUI-PS&A, we firmly believe that the realisation of these demands will not only make the work of nurses and other healthcare workers more safe and fulfilling but result in a better equipped quality public healthcare system able to respond to healthcare needs of everyone irrespective of their financial status. These demands address both the plight of nurses and the broader public, particularly the working class that relies on accessible quality public service for their health needs.

The best way that nurses across the world can put into practice the 2020 International Nurses Day theme, “Nurses a catalyst for a brighter future for health around the globe” is by taking up and leading the struggle for the provision of free universal healthcare for all

Long live Revolutionary Nurses Day!!!

Transform Nursing Fraternity Now!!!

Forward with Decent Work!!!

Free HealthCare for All Now!!!


Zola Saphetha       
General Secretary


World Federation of Trade Unions