BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – The health minister paid tribute to nurses and midwives for their contribution towards delivering quality patient care, adding that the healthcare system would not function without their service in the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement to mark World Health Day on Tuesday, YB Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohammad Isham Hj Jaafar said frontline health workers, nurses and midwives face huge challenges in dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak.

Despite the challenges, he said nurses are always committed in providing quality patient care,  providing advice and comfort in addressing patients’ concerns about COVID-19 and some of them also assist in the collection of data for clinical studies.

“They are willing to stay apart from their families and face the dangers of the virus in order to shoulder their responsibility to provide treatment.

“It is undeniable that without the presence of nurses and midwives in carrying out their duties, the healthcare system for COVID-19 in the country would not have been possible,” added the minister.

YB Dato Dr Hj Mohammad Isham said the number of nurses and midwives in Brunei has decreased as they are required to perform and adapt to various responsibilities.

Brunei currently has 1,673 nurses and 96 midwives.

The minister called on the public to be united and provide strong support to nurses and midwives.

He said the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the year 2020 the ‘Year of Nurse and the Midwife’ to highlight and present the latest developments in the nursing profession around the world. 

WHO will provide a series of recommendations on ways to improve the capacity and workforce of nursing and midwifery professionals. 

“It is important for every country including Brunei to contribute towards realising the concept of universal health coverage at the national and global levels and to achieve the goals related to maternal and child health; infectious and non-communicable diseases; mental healthcare; response and emergency preparedness,” he added.

He said nurses and midwives are constantly developing and expanding their knowledge and skills to face various challenges and meet the high expectations of doctors, other health personnel and patients.

To enhance the capabilities of nurses and midwives in the country, the health ministry has developed training programmes that encourage nurses to further their education and training locally or abroad in multiple clinical disciplines such as neonatology, cardiology and oncology.

Other programmes include a one-year internship for fresh nursing graduates; competencies training for all nursing levels; occupational training for renal and diabetic nurses; mentorship programmes, as well as specialist nursing programmes in collaboration with Politeknik Brunei and Universiti Brunei Darussalam’s Institute of Health Sciences.

The minister hoped all of the nurses and midwives in the country will continue to double their efforts to enhance the quality, efficiency and effectiveness of healthcare services. 

“I am confident that every nurse and midwife, especially those facing the challenges of the COIVD-19 outbreak, will be a good role model for those who want to venture into nursing and midwifery in the future, to continue to uphold the image and reputation of the nursing and midwifery profession as honorable, with integrity and well-respected,” he added.

World Health Day is observed every April 7, with this year’s celebration carrying the theme “Support Nurses and Midwives”.