Today, on International Nurses Day, we honor the sacrifices of those who work tirelessly to care for their patients. This year, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are especially gratefully to every nurse and healthcare professional. You have been on the front lines of the fight against the pandemic, fighting valiantly – as you always have – to save lives.
Some of you have had to mourn colleagues and family members who fell to COVID-19. Today, we honor in particular the nurses who lost their lives due to this disease. Despite the toll this pandemic has taken on you personally, you found the courage and commitment to keep fighting for us. You have been our heroes.
The United States is honored to support your efforts. Since the start of the pandemic, the United States has assisted Albania with more than $2 million in personal protective equipment, medical supplies, training, and cutting-edge technology that strengthened Albania’s ability to fight COVID-19. We provided infection prevention training for nurses and procured incubators and warmers to support children being treated for COVID-19. We provided vehicles to enable Albania to conduct more widespread contact tracing and testing. We supported you so that you could continue to fight and stay strong when patients needed you.
Nursing the world back to health will be difficult, but if anyone can do it, it’s you. We believe in your patience, strengthen, spirit of selfless sacrifice, and professionalism. We will do our part to help.
As you know, the United States has committed more than $4 billion to the COVAX program, making us the single largest donor to this effort to make vaccines available as quickly and as widely as possible. We have been pleased – frankly relieved – to see COVAX delivering vaccines to Albania. As more of the world is vaccinated, we expect that the extraordinary burden you have carried over the last year will become just a little lighter.
Tonight, we remember those we have lost, we honor the heroic efforts of nurses and healthcare professionals, and we pledge to continue to stand with you and by you until we have reached that light at the end of the tunnel.
Thank you for all you have done and all that you will continue to do.