2 nurses from India shortlisted for Global Nursing Award

London: Two nurses from India are in the running for a prestigious USD 250,000 Global Nursing Award, organised by Dubai-headquartered private healthcare service provider Aster DM Healthcare to honour the contributions of nurses worldwide.

Shanti Teresa Lakra, who works among Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and Kerala-born and Ireland-based Jincy Jerry are among 10 worldwide finalists undergoing a public voting process before being evaluated by a grand jury judging panel for the award.

The winner will be awarded at a ceremony in London on May 12, which is marked worldwide as International Nurses Day.

“The Aster Guardians Global Nursing Award was started because we felt a necessity to celebrate the nurses and recognise them,” said Dr Azad Moopen, India-born Founder Chairman and Managing Director of Aster DM Healthcare, which operates healthcare services in India and the Gulf.

“We have about 8,000 nurses in our own organisation and we have seen the way in which they put their heart and soul into serving and saving the patients. Being a doctor, I have seen and appreciated their hard work for the healthcare system at large and most recently over the COVID challenges. They were the frontline soldiers in that fight,” he said.

Shanti Teresa Lakra, from the G.B. Pant Hospital in Port Blair and a Padma Shri recipient for her nursing service over the years, has spent considerable time within the tribal community of Andaman and Nicobar to gain their trust and assist with their healthcare needs.

In 2004, when the tsunami hit the Ongee Island habitat and drove them deep into the jungle, she made her home with them and lived in an open tent. She now works for all the major tribes in the region, something which brought her to the attention of the global award.

“I work as a grassroots level worker in a very remote area and my whole world belongs to the tribals residing in a very interior and isolated part of Andaman and Nicobar islands. To be a finalist in these awards is overwhelming because I never dreamt of it,” said Lakra, in an interview ahead of the award ceremony.

She pointed to language and other socio-economic barriers that make her work on the island quite challenging, but fulfilling at the same time.

“They are very shy by nature and it isn’t easy for them to share information about their health problems. I strive to provide the best care I possibly can,” she said.

The other nurse from India in the running for the public vote is Jincy Jerry of Mater Misericordiae University Hospital in Dublin, who serves as Assistant Director of Nursing for Infection Prevention and Control.

Her work in designing an appropriate software solution to cut down on the potential for human error while collating results from laboratories is among the factors behind her being shortlisted. Jerry, who is also part of the Infection Prevention Society UK, firmly believes that innovation is a way to increase quality and patient safety.

“In 2020, I introduced robotic process automation to the hospital. Our workload was very high at the time, so we introduced the system to counter that. Currently, I am working on around eight projects in the pipeline including work on using artificial intelligence (AI) to assist, train and modify behaviours on hygiene,” said Jerry, whose work has also been recognised by the Irish Healthcare Awards.

“If we have the right technology, we can save so much valuable time. It’s crucial that the nursing profession benefits from it,” she added.

Besides the nurses from India and Ireland, high-achieving nurses from England, the UAE, Kenya, Tanzania, Panama, Singapore, Portugal and the Philippines make up the finalists in the public vote stage of the vote before the winner is announced in London on Friday.

Aster DM Healthcare said it chose the UK capital for the 2023 award ceremony for its strong healthcare tradition in the state-funded National Health Service (NHS) and as the birthplace of Florence Nightingale – the founder of modern nursing.