New Delhi: Remember Lini Puthussery, the brave nurse from Kerala? She died last year after she contracted Nipah virus while treating a patient during the deadly outbreak. Honuring her commendable efforts and service to humanity, President Ram Nath Kovind conferred her with the National Florence Nightingale Award posthumously.

The award was presented by the President on Thursday in New Delhi and was received by her husband Sajeesh P on the occasion of International Nurses Day. The 31-year-old Lini, a dedicated nurse, breathed her last on May 21, 2018, after being infected by Nipah virus.

The mother-of-two contracted the deadly virus while attending two brothers, who later died of the illness, the first confirmed cases of fatalities in Kerala due to Nipah. Lini had to be cremated even before her family could get one last glimpse of her because of fears the virus could spread.

Thousands of people had paid tributes to her and Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had said nurse Lini Puthussery’s “selfless service will be remembered”.

Following her death, the Kerala government also constituted an award named ‘Sister Lini Memorial Award’ to commemorate her sacrifice.

Speaking at the event, President Ram Nath Kovind stated that ‘nurses play a vital role in delivering quality and cost effective health care, addressing multiple health challenges and responding to health needs of individuals, families and communities’.

He further added the world is more in need of care and compassion, and nurses indeed are symbols of “seva, shushrusha, karuna”. For patients and their families, nurses are the face of healthcare services.

The President also shared that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has announced 2020 as the year of the nurse and mid-wife.

“We have an increasing number of elderly people who deserve and require proper geriatric care. In India, families take care of our elders in their old age. However, with changing lifestyles the demand for professional caregivers to take care of the elderly is on the rise,” President Kovind said.

“These care-givers, who need not be trained nurses, would certainly benefit from basic training in geriatric care. Our nursing training institutions can consider developing short training programs for such caregivers too,” he added.

National Florence Nightingale awards were instituted in the year 1973 by the Indian government as a mark of recognition for the meritorious services rendered by nurses.