The Coronavirus pandemic has placed healthcare systems worldwide under immense pressure and incidentally, drawn attention to the heroes at the frontlines of the global response. Today, World Health Day, we celebrate the efforts of our nurses and midwives who are among the ranks of healthcare professionals who continue to risk life and limb to provide the best quality of care for their patients.

Their stressful, demanding job is made easier when we do our part to ensure that the health system is not unnecessarily overburdened, however, their efforts are frustrated when we do not adhere to the guidelines that have been designed to slow the spread of this virus. We cannot claim to appreciate our health professionals while doing the very things that they have asked us not to do. We all need to demonstrate tangibly our support for these selfless men and women by complying with the ongoing directives issued by the competent authorities—the Ministries of Health and Communications, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO).

Citizens must heed the call to stay at home, wash their hands and practise strict social distancing. Where offices and businesses are not mandatorily closed, there is a need for the unselfish exercise of discretion about whether those services are truly essential.

Our medical professionals must be adequately equipped, trained and regulated to perform their lifesaving duties safely and efficiently, but all that will be in vain, if our reckless behaviour puts them at greater risk and compromises the nation’s ability to respond effectively to the outbreak of this virulent new virus. Everyone has a part to play in this fight of our lives.

On World Health Day 2020, let us show our frontline responders the actual respect and appreciation they deserve, not only by applauding their efforts, but also by doing our part to slow the spread of the Novel Coronavirus. Let’s work together to flatten the curve. #StayHomeStaySafe #SaveLives.