Haiti: three Haitians awarded prestigious Florence Nightingale Medal
13-08-2010 News Release 10/147
Port-au-Prince (ICRC) – At a ceremony today in Arcahaie, a coastal town some 30 kilometres from Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince, Germaine Pierre-Louis, Michaëlle Colin and Jude Célorge will be presented with the prestigious Florence Nightingale Medal.
The medal is the highest international honour that can be bestowed on nurses and nursing aides who have distinguished themselves in caring for victims of a conflict or natural disaster.
This is the first time that the medal, which is being given exceptionally in 2010, has been awarded to Haitian health workers. The three recipients were chosen for the exceptional courage they demonstrated helping victims of the earthquake that struck on 12 January 2010, and for many years of selfless work in behalf of sick and wounded people.
" My readiness to serve and my devotion to helping the most vulnerable people have been rewarded, but I am and will always remain ready to continue to help improve their situation, " said one of the awardees, Germaine Pierre-Louis, a nurse who is president of the south-east branch of the Haitian National Red Cross Society. Despite losing her own home in the earthquake, Ms Pierre-Louis arranged for hundreds of survivors in the city of Jacmel to receive care.
Michaëlle Colin, the chief nurse at the Port-au-Prince Sanatorium, has had to work in tents since the earthquake destroyed the hospital buildings. Being chosen to receive the medal was a big surprise for her: " I did not expect such an award. I'm only doing my duty as a nurse, " she said modestly, without mentioning that thanks to her efforts the sanatorium, a referral hospital for tuberculosis patients, was the first hospital to resume services after the earthquake.
" This distinction is very important to me, because it rewards the efforts of Red Cross volunteers, who sometimes risk their own lives to help victims of urban violen ce in deprived areas of the city, " said Jude Célorge, who for many long years has been the head of a Haitian National Red Cross Society rescue team in Martissant, a problem area in Port-au-Prince.
The prestigious distinction, named for the legendary English nurse Florence Nightingale (1820-1910), will be presented by another nurse, Christiane Augsburger, a member of the Assembly of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and chairwoman of the committee that selects the medal winners. Each of the three Haitian health workers will also receive a limited-edition silver commemorative coin issued by the Royal Mint of the United Kingdom on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the death of Florence Nightingale.
A total of 1,309 exceptional nurses from around the world have received the Florence Nightingale Medal since it was first awarded in 1920.For further information, please contact:
Olga Miltcheva, ICRC Haiti, tel: +509 37 02 31 52
Marçal Izard, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 24 58 or +41 79 217 32 24