|Chinese President Xi Jinping (C) poses for a photo with Chinese recipients of the Florence Nightingale Medal in Beijing, capital of China, Aug. 24, 2013. Xi Jinping presented the medals to the nurses at the awarding ceremony held in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing Saturday. (Xinhua/Yao Dawei)|
BEIJING, Aug. 24 (Xinhua) -- Six Chinese nurses were awarded the Florence Nightingale Medal on Saturday for their outstanding contributions to healthcare.
President Xi Jinping presented the medals to the nurses at a ceremony held in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. He saluted the nation's nurses, Red Cross workers and volunteers.
The nurses have made contributions to the world's humanitarian cause, said Peter Maurer, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), at the awarding ceremony.
A total of 32 nurses from 16 countries won the Florence Nightingale Medal this year.
The Florence Nightingale Medal, the highest international honor for nurses, was introduced in 1912. A total of 68 Chinese nurses have won the award since the country began to recommend candidates in 1983.
"The Florence Nightingale Medal recognizes the extraordinary commitment, courage, compassion and innovation of nurses and nursing aides who have helped people survive natural disasters and armed conflicts," a post on the ICRC's website says.
The award is named after Florence Nightingale (1820-1910), an English nurse known for her pioneering work in improving medical care for sick and wounded soldiers during the Crimean War (1853-1856).
At the ceremony, Chinese State Councilor Wang Yong recognized contributions made by the Red Cross Society of China (RCSC) over its more than 100-year history, and urged the RCSC to boost transparency and clean governance.
Wang also called on authorities at all levels to help with difficulties and problems the organization faces in carrying out its work, and called on the public to continue their support for Red Cross undertakings.
The RCSC's reputation took a major hit in 2011, when a young woman calling herself Guo Meimei used social media to claim she managed an organization under the charity and openly flaunted her wealth and extravagant lifestyle.
The scandal triggered public concern about embezzlement within the charity.