Honoring the backbone of healthcare, ET HealthWorld


by Dr. Vivek Desai

“It takes an army to build a village” and similarly it takes a group of highly qualified healthcare professionals and caregivers to heal a patient. NURSE, which also stands for Noble-Understanding-Responsibility-Sympathy-Efficient, form the backbone to aid the clinical team and patients alike.

The theme for this year’s International Nurses Day is “Our Nurses. Our Future.” The future of healthcare is dependent on our health force, including nurses, who play a very critical role, however are not often recognized for their exemplary work. Nurses comprise two-thirds of health workforce in India and 50% of the global health workforce.

With more than 1.4 billion individuals, India is the most populous country in the world and its healthcare system is in dire need of quality and trained nurses and paramedics. There were 18 lakhs nurses registered under NCI in 2020; clearly concluding that there is a requirement of more than 10 lakh to fill the WHO standard of 1:3 nurses per 1000 population.

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As a step towards addressing this pain point, the Indian government announced the establishment of 157 new nursing colleges in its Union Budget 2023-24. This is expected to solve the geographical and rural-urban imbalances in the healthcare sector, resulting in skewed availability of nursing professionals in certain areas, thereby boosting healthcare delivery in India.

One of the most important contributions made by nurses in India is improving mother and child health. The maternal mortality rate in India stands at 113 per 100,000 live births, while every 1,000 live births result in 23 neonatal deaths. Nurses are crucial in providing paediatric care and advice families on nutrition, hygiene and immunization for both the mother and child.

Nurses also aid in the management and avoidance of non-communicable illnesses (NCDs). The Indian Council of Medical Research claims that 63 percent of all deaths in India are attributable to NCDs. Nurses are essential in the prevention and management of NCDs because they help in creating advocacy, disseminating knowledge about risk factors and conduct health checks.

However, there is a lack of nursing faculty in the country, mainly in speciality training such as paediatric, geriatric and palliative care, which require concentrated care services. With the advent of technology, we can overcome this challenge by tapping on to global best practises. Hospitals and medical colleges in Indian can easily tie up with international universities by harnessing online learning which will upskill our nurses.

For example, during the onset of COVID-19, McKinsey-lead iNGO, Generation, partnered with Indian healthcare thinktanks to upskill more than 1 lakh nurses in India to care for COVID patients.

India has also been experiencing ‘nurse drain brain’ which means migration of trained nurses to other countries for better employment opportunities. This can be seen positively as it helps to bring back gains to the homeland as forex remittances. Additionally, these nurses often gain valuable skills and experience that they can bring back to India if they choose to return, which can ultimately benefit the country’s healthcare system.

All in all, we need more emphasis on nursing education and quality skilling which will help to define the future of healthcare in India. Today, let’s recognise and honour the tremendous efforts and dedication of nurses in India by vowing to support initiatives that will promote the nursing profession.

Dr. Vivek Desai is the Founder & MD, HOSMAC

(DISCLAIMER: The views expressed are solely of the author and ETHealthworld does not necessarily subscribe to it. ETHealthworld.com shall not be responsible for any damage caused to any person / organisation directly or indirectly.)

  • Published On May 12, 2023 at 12:00 PM IST

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