The unsung heroes of our healthcare system

In Pakistan, nurses make up the largest proportion of healthcare professionals

Abrar Hussain May 23, 2024


As we celebrated World Nurses Day this month — on May 12th to be exact — it’s time to shine a light on the dedicated and compassionate individuals who form the backbone of Pakistan’s healthcare system — our nurses. These unsung heroes work tirelessly behind the scenes, providing care and comfort to patients in need, often under challenging circumstances.

In Pakistan, nurses make up the largest proportion of healthcare professionals. Over 100,000 registered nurses are working in hospitals, clinics and communities across the country. Despite their crucial role, they often face numerous challenges, including inadequate training facilities, insufficient staffing and limited resources. According to the WHO, Pakistan has only 1.4 nurses per 1,000 people, significantly lower than the global average of 2.8. However, despite these obstacles, Pakistani nurses continue to excel in their profession, demonstrating remarkable dedication and resilience.

In fact, Pakistan has produced some of the world’s top nurses, with many working in prestigious hospitals and healthcare institutions around the globe. Moreover, Pakistani nurses have made significant contributions to healthcare initiatives, such as the successful vaccination campaigns against polio and Covid-19. Their tireless efforts have helped save countless lives and improved health outcomes across the country. During the Covid-19 pandemic, Pakistani nurses played a crucial role in managing the crisis, working long hours in challenging conditions to care for patients and contain the spread of the virus.

On this World Nurses Day, we must recognise the vital role our nurses play in keeping our healthcare system afloat. We must also acknowledge the challenges they face and work towards addressing them. This includes investing in nursing education and training, improving working conditions and providing adequate resources and support. We must also challenge the societal attitudes that often undervalue the contributions of nurses. Nursing is a noble profession that requires skill, compassion and dedication. It’s time we give our nurses the respect and recognition they deserve. In addition, we must also work towards creating a more inclusive and diverse healthcare workforce, where nurses from all backgrounds can thrive and contribute to their full potential. This includes addressing the gender imbalance in the nursing profession, where women make up the majority of nurses, but are often underrepresented in leadership positions.

To address these challenges, the government and healthcare organisations must work together to develop and implement policies and programmes that support the nursing profession. This includes investing in nursing education and training, providing scholarships and mentorship opportunities and creating leadership development programs to empower nurses to take on leadership roles. Moreover, we must also recognise the importance of nurse-led initiatives and research in improving healthcare outcomes. Nurses are at the forefront of patient care and have a unique understanding of the healthcare system’s strengths and weaknesses. By empowering nurses to take on leadership roles and drive research and innovation, we can build a more effective and efficient healthcare system that prioritises patient care and well-being.

Let us take a moment to appreciate the selfless service of our nurses. Let us recognise their dedication, resilience and compassion, and work towards creating a better environment for them to thrive. By doing so, we can build a stronger, more resilient healthcare system that benefits all Pakistanis. Furthermore, we must also acknowledge the critical role that nurses play in promoting health equity and addressing the social determinants of health. Nurses work in communities, hospitals and clinics, and have a deep understanding of the social and economic factors that impact health outcomes. By empowering nurses to take on leadership roles and drive policy and programme development, we can build a more equitable and just healthcare system that prioritises the needs of marginalised and vulnerable populations.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 23rd, 2024.

Like Opinion & Editorial on Facebook, follow @ETOpEd on Twitter to receive all updates on all our daily pieces.



Replying to X

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

For more information, please see our Comments FAQ