Pakistan facing acute shortage of nurses

Special Assistant to Prime Minister Imran Khan, Dr Faisal Sultan, noted that Pakistan has one of the greatest shortages of trained, high-quality nurses…reports Asian Lite News

Despite playing a vital role on the frontlines of the deadly third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Pakistan, the country is facing an acute shortage of nurses and healthcare professionals, said policymakers and academics.

Policymakers and academics came during a seminar at the Aga Khan University Hospital, held to celebrate the International Day of Nurses and Midwives, reported Geo News.

Chief Minister of Pakistan’s Sindh Province, Murad Ali Shah, the chief guest at the event, noted that the demand for nurses has been increasing worldwide.

“We are mindful of the fact that due to the global shortage of nurses, the demand worldwide has increased which is giving our nurses the opportunity to migrate to high-income countries to improve their quality of life. This is definitely something we do not want to happen as in Pakistan, there had already been a shortage of 1.3 million nurses before the pandemic,” he said.

Special Assistant to Prime Minister Imran Khan, Dr Faisal Sultan, mentioned that Pakistan has one of the greatest shortages of trained, high-quality nurses, noting that no healthcare system could deliver quality care without the input of trained, committed professionals in the nursing field.

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Meanwhile, Health Minister Sindh Dr Azra Pechuho remarked that one of the major reasons behind the shortage of nurses was that very few women are seeking admission to the profession, Geo News reported.

Academics maintained that Pakistan is one of the five countries facing the largest deficits of nurses with the World Health Organisation (WHO) also calling on the country to take steps to double its nursing workforce.

“Nurses have grown used to double shifts, no days off, and living at hospitals during the pandemic to keep the public safe,” AKU’s School of Nursing and Midwifery Dean Professor Rozina Karmaliani said.

A medical worker collects a swab sample from a teacher for COVID-19 test at a school in Karachi, Pakistan, on Sept. 14, 2020. After a consistent drop in new cases, the Pakistani government has announced to reopen educational institutes in phases from Sept. 15. (Str/Xinhua/IANS)

The experts highlighted the need to promote qualifications that enhance the skills of nurses and enable them to widen their scope of practice.

“Empowering nurses and midwives to take the lead in patient care would expand the availability of affordable care,” Geo News quoted Professor Rafat Jan, associate dean at AKU’s School of Nursing and Midwifery.

They also called on the government to invest in online learning to improve access to learning during the pandemic so that graduates could complete their education on time and join the workforce immediately.

During the seminar, experts lauded the efforts of nurses and midwives during the third wave of the coronavirus. (ANI)

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