The National Florence Nightingale Award-2019 was posthumously awarded to the Kerala nurse Lini PN on Thursday (December 5). The nurse died of the deadly Nipah virus that she contracted while treating a patient in 2018.
The award was handed over to Lini's husband Sajeesh by the President Ramnath Kovind at the national capital on the occasion of International Nurses Day. The prestigious awards were instituted in 1973 by the Indian government as a mark of recognition for the meritorious services rendered by nurses.
Speaking on the occasion, the President said, "Nurses play a vital role in delivering quality and cost-effective healthcare, addressing multiple health challenges and responding to the health needs of individuals, families and communities, reported ANI.
Who is Lini?
The 28-year-old Lini was a nurse at Perambra Taluk hospital, Kerala who died of the Nipah outbreak in the state on 21 May 2018 after treating Sabith, the first unconfirmed victim of Nipah and the first index case of the virus infection at the hospital. The mother of two young boys, Lini died at the intensive care unit (ICU) of Kozhikode Medical college hospital, where she was admitted after developing multiple complications on May 21.
After reaching the medical college hospital, Lini had asked the doctors to place her in an isolation ward, fearing the spread of Nipah. She also did not allow her family members from visiting her fearing that the disease could be contracted. Acknowledging her sacrifice, the state government of Kerala changed the name of the award given to the best nurse as 'Sister Lini Puthussery Award'. The World Health Organisation (WHO) also paid its tribute to Lini for her timely alert over the virus outbreak.
The young nurse had written a heart-rending letter to her husband on her deathbed which evoked an emotional response from across the world. The letter read that "I am almost on the way and I don't think I can meet you again. Please take our sons Lavan and Kunju to Gulf. Don't live alone like our father. With lots of love..."
To cherish Lini's memory, a rural child care centre (Anganwadi) is constructed at her birthplace and the new block of Perambra hospital will be named after Lini. The Kerala Government Nurses Association (KGNA) has also formed a charitable trust in her name.