Policy Roundtable on Nursing and Midwifery
Punjab, with a population of 110 million faces a critical deficit of qualified and skilled health workers, particularly nurses and midwives. The gaps widen as the population growth outpaces the development efforts. To address these widening gaps, the Government of Punjab has introduced multiple evidence-driven initiatives over the last few years. This included the highest increase ever in the sanctioned posts of nurses over the last two years i.e. 46% increase in sanctioned seats
Today Punjab has 14 Nursing Colleges, 55 Nursing Schools, 12 Public Health Nursing Schools, 3 midwifery schools and 19 community midwife training schools, producing 5125 nurses and lady health visitors every year. A total of 64,846 nurses from Punjab are registered with the Pakistan Nursing Council. As per WHO Global HRH strategy there is a requirement of 4.45 doctors, nurses and midwives per 1000 population, which translates into need of another 314,697 nurses and midwives in Punjab. Unless rectified, at the current production rate of 5,125 nurses and midwives per year, this deficit will only widen over the years. Against the recommended 1:3 doctor nurse ratio, Punjab standards at 1 doctor for every 0.69 nurse. To gain insight from subject matter experts and policy makers, PPHA organized a policy roundtable conference
The objectives of the event were as follows;
- 1. Highlighting the importance of the nursing cadre
- 2. Addressing current challenges at entry, workforce and output level
- 3. Finalizing recommendations for policy directions
The participants unanimously recommended restructuring of the current midwifery and nursing training programs to accommodate the enrolled students and ensure their trainings. There was discussion on ensuring compliance with PMDC policy guidelines for medical colleges with respect to establishment of nursing schools. Everyone agreed with the critical dearth of nursing faculty in country, and the need to enhance programs through public-private collaborations, as well as introduce new disciplines like public health nursing, and PhDs in nursing.
The roundtable was attended by Director General Nursing, Nursing Examination Controller, President Midwifery Association of Pakistan, Principal University of Health Sciences Nursing College, Principal Children’s Hospital and Institute of Child Health, Saida Waheed FMH College of Nursing, and other senior nursing faculty of public and private sector universities and hospitals, Primary & Secondary Healthcare Department, Specialized Healthcare & Medical Education Department, and subject matter experts.