The COVID-19 pandemic has rendered many around the world helpless and stranded without any hope for betterment in the immediate future. Countless female healthcare workers as well as numerous nurses had been stranded in Saudi Arabia owing to the ravages of the virulent pandemic. According to recent reports, Saudi Arabia had been housing numerous pregnant nurses in desperate need to come to India. Women healthcare workers with children had been forced into a prolonged stay in the Middle-Eastern nation following the restrictions implemented during the lockdown. The United Nurses Association (UNA) had acknowledged the plight of the nurses and taken an initiative that has since been lauded by the global medical community. Recent announcements confirm that the UNA will be chartering planes for the immediate transportation of the healthcare workers stranded in the Arabian nation. National President for the UNA, Mr. Jasminsha has revealed the celebratory news to the masses. Saudi Arabia allows a month-long holiday at the end of every year, however due to the pandemic, countless nurses’ plans to return to India for a leave, had been put on hold. Similarly, many who made their way to India during the holiday, had been stranded here due to irregular flight services. The UNA’s initiative has proven to be a befitting resolve for these pressing concerns.
The initiative comes as a breath of fresh air for the countless victims of the pandemic whose undeniable contributions in the medical sector during the pandemic have managed to save lives everywhere. However, the indisputable lack of prior experience, as well as the support of people experienced in the field, had posed obstacles on the path. The Government of India along with the Committee on External Affairs member, Shri V. Muraleedharan had extended their support and assistance to ensure the timely implementation of the laudable initiative. With the indispensable support of SpiceJet’s officials and crew members along with the diligence and patience of the nurses who have braved quite a rollercoaster ride during the COVID crisis, the first batch of 177 nurses and 9 babies landed at Kochi Airport on June 7, 2020. Since then, nearly 45 planes have been chartered to and from Saudi Arabia to ensure the wellbeing of over 35,000 healthcare workers. UNA State President of Kerala, Mr. Shoby Josep has affirmed the continuation of the chartered flight services until regular international flight services are resumed. He has assured the nation, “In any case, the organization has decided to continue this initiative until regular flight services begin.”
Jibin TC, State President of UNA Maharashtra has recently stated, “Being a professional organization, we are focused on many things apart from professional betterment and development; we are very much involved with the public and concerned about their issues too. As nurses, we feel the pain of people to a greater extent than anyone; nurses are the best policymakers, administrators, care providers, and advocates. We have worked in various setups and created the best health system for the world. Unfortunately, in India, we neither get recognized nor respected.” The nation owes its progress in healthcare to organizations such as the UNA, which facilitates the advancements concerning India’s diligent nurses and healthcare representatives. The UNA’s contributions are worthy of recognition, following its relentless efforts to overcome the challenges posed by the pandemic.