Vice-Premier and Health Minister WuYi, on behalf of the State Council, China's cabinet, Sunday sent a congratulatory message conveying her great respect to the country's medical workers, especially, nurses, on the occasion of International Nurses day.
The holiday was established to commemorate the birthday of Florence Nightingale, an English woman born in 1820, who is widely considered the founder of modern nursing.
In an open letter to the country's nurses, Wu said nursing work has always been associated with the spirit of humanitarianism and that nurses have won the public's respect and admiration since Florence Nightingale founded the profession nearly a century ago.
In China, nursing has become an important part of the country's public health cause, and as of the end of 2002, China had a total of nearly 1.25 million nurses, accounting for 29.2 percent of the country's medical workers, the letter says.
Bearing in mind the tenet of serving the people whole-heartedly, the country's nurses have worked hard and earnestly for years, making great contributions to the development of China's public health cause, Wu said.
Especially during the ongoing fight against severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), the nurses have consistently placed the public's health and lives first, carrying out their duties day and night to care for the patients. Their professionalism and spirit have earned them praise, respect and trust from the people, Wu said.
The Party Central Committee and the State Council have always attached great importance to SARS prevention work and to the health of medical workers across the country and have high praise for their performance.
The letter described the comments and praise as great encouragement and support for the medical and health workers.
The letter called on medical workers across the country to continue their efforts to prevent and control the disease as the SARS situation is still very serious.
Wu expressed confidence that China will ultimately defeat SARS.
(Xinhua News Agency May 11, 2003)