LAHORE: The province faces a critical deficit of qualified and skilled health workers, particularly nurses and midwives, said speakers on Sunday at a roundtable on Finalisation of Policy Recommendations for Nursing and Midwifery in Punjab.
The event was organised by the Punjab Public Health Agency (PPHA) and was the third dialogue under its health policy roundtable series. The discussions highlighted existing challenges and the required policy interventions to strengthen nursing and midwifery in the country.
Further, the roundtable aimed to generate a dialogue around optimising the utilisation of the existing workforce, while also meeting the gaps in the system.
Participants highlighted the weakness of the service structure, the gaps in education planning and the optimisation of the available workforce. During the roundtable, it was also suggested that a bachelor’s programme for nursing and midwifery, and a cadre for public health nurses be introduced.
Considering the healthcare needs of the province, participants also proposed a nursing college be set up alongside all medical colleges. They also endorsed the need to optimise the workforce, by suggesting 100% increase in seats for nursing colleges.
Policy recommendations suggested by the participants will guide the development of the Punjab Human Resources for Health framework which will define priority action areas related to nursing education, said PPHA CEO Dr Shabnum Sarfraz.
Senior nursing faculty also appreciated the efforts of the recent government in improving worker strength in public sector hospitals.
The roundtable was attended by Nursing Director General, Nursing Examination Controller, Midwifery Association of Pakistan President, University of Health Sciences Nursing College Principal, Children’s Hospital and Institute of Child Health Principal and other senior nursing faculty of public and private sector universities and hospitals.
Currently, Punjab has 14 nursing colleges, 55 nursing schools, 12 public health nursing schools, 3 midwifery schools and 19 community midwife training schools, which have produced 5,125 nurses and lady health workers.
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