Regarded as the founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale revolutionized the profession of nursing. She is popularly known for caring for wounded soldiers during the Crimean War and for training and managing nurses working under her. Nightingale was a social reformer; she worked for improving healthcare in British society, fighting hunger in India, advocating for removing oppressive prostitution laws and creating opportunities for women to join the workforce. However, she is less known for her work as a statistician who emphasized on the use of data and mathematics to curb the spread of diseases. Through her statistical analysis, she discovered that death due to disease was seven times more likely because of unsanitary hospital conditions. Her statistical sophistication in healthcare was way ahead of her times.

Two centuries later, as the world is battling the spread of COVID-19, the works and contributions of Florence Nightingale in using data to fight diseases becomes even more relevant. As we are commemorating Nightingale’s life and legacy on her 200th birthday today, we also remember the struggles of millions of healthcare workers around the world who are working tirelessly and putting their lives at risk to save the world in global pandemic.