Nurses, being at the forefront of all ongoing efforts aimed at achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, should be included in the policy- and decision-making processes.
This demand was articulated by nurses themselves at a ceremony organised by Shifa International Hospital (SIH) to celebrate International Nurses Day (IND) here on Wednesday. Former director general nursing, Punjab, Nisab Akhtar, was the chief guest on the occasion, with a large number of nurses from various hospitals of the twin cities in attendance.
International Nurses Day is annually celebrated around the world on 12 May, the birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing. The International Council of Nurses commemorates the day with the production and distribution of the International Nurses’ Day (IND) Kit. The IND Kit 2013 contains educational and public information materials for use by nurses everywhere.
Expressing her views, Nisab emphasised that nurses must be engaged in advocacy and lobbying. “We must be involved in the development of any programme introduced to improve health services as it is nurses who have the practical knowledge of how health service delivery can be designed, coordinated and effectively implemented,” she said.
The IND theme for 2013 is ‘Closing The Gap: Millennium Development Goals 8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1.’ Nisab said that as the largest healthcare profession in the world, nurses’ role is very crucial to achievement of the MDGs. Nurses are often the only health professionals accessible to many people in their lifetime so they are particularly well-placed and often the most innovative in reaching disadvantaged populations.
Referring to data of the International Council of Nurses, Nisab said, ‘MDG 4 — Reduce child mortality’ has shown some significant success in the reduction of global deaths among children under the age of five. However, a majority of the 7.6 million child deaths that occur every year could be prevented using effective and affordable interventions. Neonatal mortality continues to be a major concern, as do infectious diseases and under-nutrition. She said ‘MDG 5 — Improve maternal health’ has resulted in an almost 50 percent decrease in the number of women who die during pregnancy or childbirth. On ‘MDG 6 — Combat HIV/AIDs’, malaria and other diseases, she said it shows significant regional variation and also some successes with fewer people becoming infected with HIV in most regions and significant expansion of access to life-saving anti-retroviral therapy.
While the numbers of reported cases of malaria and tuberculosis are falling, there is no room for complacency as there are increasing reports of resistance to artemisinins and insecticides for treating malaria and increasing reports of multi-drug resistant Tuberculosis, Nisab said.In the end, the acting head of nursing at SIH Raeesa Kausar presented the vote of thanks.