Use services of nurses for better healthcare in rural areas: Prez

New Delhi, May 12: President Pranab Mukherjee suggested effective utilisation of the services of nurses beyond their traditional domain to help improve health services in rural areas where there are no doctors.

Addressing a function to mark International Nurses Day at Rashtrapati Bhawan's Durbar Hall on Sunday, he said nursing had evolved into a modern medical profession with wealth of skills and professional knowledge and nurses formed a large and critical part of the health workforce, which is the backbone of the healthcare system.

"As keen facilitators of the healthcare, they are the pivot in the hospital-doctor-patient paradigm," he said after presenting the Florence Nightingale Award to 35 nursing professionals for their services with devotion, sincerity, dedication and compassion.

"Time has come to effectively utilise services of nurses in public health services beyond their traditional domain of hospitals and dispensaries. The skills of our nurses can be used to great advantage in improving health services in rural areas where there are no doctors.

"I am confident, in times to come, nursing profession will attain greater recognition and they will be empowered with more responsibilities, competencies and better facilities for improving the health services," Mukherjee said.

He said government has set the goal of 'health for all' in the 12th Plan and with expansion of medical infrastructure there will be an increased demand for nursing staff.

This, he said, can be addressed by augmenting capacities in existing institutions and by opening many more nursing schools.

Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said six nursing colleges will start functioning by the end of this year at the six AIIMS-like Institutes set up in different states and an Indian Institute of Nursing is proposed to be set up at Chennai, besides a Centre of excellence in nursing in Delhi.

He said 20,000 more nursing seats will be created this year and claimed a four-fold increase in the number of nursing institutes in the country in the last 7 years.

The National Florence Nightingale Award is given to outstanding nursing personnel and the Award carries Rs 50,000 in cash, a certificate, a citation certificate and a medal.

A total of 272 nurses have been decorated with this award by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare so far.

Those honoured with National Florence Nightingale Award 2013 are:

N Leela Samuel (Andhra Pradesh), Sunita Kumari (Bihar), Geeta Sayasinh Thakore and Bhanuben R Patel (both Dadar & Nagar Haveli), Aneetha Abraham (Daman & Diu), Eliza Rodrigues (Goa), Gomti Dadwal (Himachal Pradesh),Vijayalakshmi Banerjee and Kamla Dahiya (both Haryana), P K Indira, Kochuthresiamma Thomas (both Kerala), Rathi Shedthy (Karnataka), Salve Dropadi Tukaram, Shakila Bashir Shaikh, Vandana Narayan Rao Uikey, Shobha Samuel Yohanna (all Maharashtra), Thongam Memcha Devi, Hoikhochin Haokip (both Manipur), Bisilda Langstieh, Itees Muktieh (both Meghalaya), Themkhoneng (Nagaland), K Kannammal (Puducherry), Hemendra Kumar, Asha Sen, Annamma Samuel (all Rajasthan), Jayalakshmi Vadivel, Jeyaseelan M Devadason (both Tamil Nadu), Leela Masih (Uttar Pradesh), Maya Bisht (Uttarkhand), Aparna Bhusan (West Bengal), Amrita Edwin (Chandigarh), Pushpa Evelyne Singh, Niang Neikim Simte (both Delhi), Y Flora Thangam (Karnataka) and Major General H J Bhullar (Defence).

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