Catholic Church calls on the government to ensure Frontline Healthcare Workers have adequate access to the means of protection against COVID-19

SACBC statement on International Nurses Day

Without our nurses, South Africa’s battle against Covid-19 fight would be lost

 We join President Cyril Ramaphosa and the whole country in thanking our nurses in South Africa who, being at the frontline of the response against the COVID-19, have shown us an example of heroism and self-sacrifice.

With over 10,000 Covid-19 infections, a number that is rising by the day, their work in screening and treating patients is more than a profession, but a vocation that involves dedication to the common good.

Besides providing treatment to those infected, nurses have provided much-needed support to the dying and those who have lost loved ones because of the disease. Our nurses are more than nurses. As President Cyril Ramaphosa said so well earlier today: they are community-builders, mentors, counsellors, and educators who provide psychosocial support beyond the medical domain. Without our nurses, particularly those working in under-served parts of the country, South Africa’s fight against Covid-19 would be lost.

Looking at the important role nurses play in the fight against the novel coronavirus, we call on the government and other stakeholders to ensure them and other frontline healthcare workers, especially those working in marginalised and remote communities, have adequate access to the means to protect themselves against the disease – today, tomorrow and the days after. 

According to the latest statistics, over 500 healthcare workers across the country have tested positive for Covid-19, of which several have died, including nurses.  We mourn these unsung heroes whilst keeping them, their families and their colleagues at the frontline, in our prayers.

Archbishop William Slattery OFM (SACBC Spokesperson)
Date 12th May 2020

For more information contact: Archbishop William Slattery OFM: +27 (0) 83 468 5473, E-mail: