By Ndidi Chukwu
Nurse Justina Ejelonu has been posthumously awarded the Nurse-Heroine-of-the year award by Nursingworld Nigeria. The late Justina Ejelonu was given the award at a family gathering where her parents received the award on her behalf. Speaking at the event, Jennifer Emelue a director of the organization described justina as the “Florence Nightingale of our time”, and reminisced how her sacrifice has modelled the bravery and compassion that inspires nurses today. She noted that this award is the highest distinction a Nigerian nurse can achieve and is awarded for “exceptional courage and devotion, exemplary service.
According to her “we have not come today to mourn Justina, we have come to celebrate a hero who paid the ultimate price in service to humanity in the fight against the deadly Ebola virus outbreak and in doing so, spared the nation from the widespread rampage that our sister west African countries are suffering. Justina has accomplished her mission and gone on to a better place.
The plaque presented to the parents of late Justina bore the inscription “pro vera misericordia et cara humanitate” (true and loving humanitarianism) The Nursingworld team also swore to honour her memory and keep her name alive. In a bid to immortalize the contribution of this Amazon and public health defender, they have established the “Justina Ejelonu Memorial Scholarship” which is open only to Nigerian nurses both in the University, school of nursing/midwifery and post basic nursing institutions.
She however called on friends of nursing, corporate bodies, professional nursing associations, the nursing and midwifery council of Nigeria to support the funding of the Justina ejelonu Scholarship scheme.
In appreciation, Mr Ejelonu urged Nigerian Nurse to leverage on the heroism and patriotism of Justina to fight for their right. Mrs Ejelonu bemoaned her loss and inability to see her daughters’ corpse throughout the ordeal, however she thanked the Nursingworld Nigeria Team for the good gesture and Prayed God to guide and protect Nurses in their job to humanity