Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Nursing India to health

I just finished reading Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin's inspirational book, Three Cups of Tea. Mortenson's mission to "promote peace... one school at a time" is a great humanitarian achievement that will dwarf even the K2 peak that he failed to climb. The message in the book is clear - you can't combat terrorism with guns. Give them education and a better future and you'll win their hearts. Working in Pakistan's remote district of Baltistan near the Line of Control, Mortenson has built fifty-five schools in villages across the forbidding landscape over a decade that have empowered girls in this extremely conservative society to make their own choices.

Fighting off fatwas, threats and even the Taliban, Mortenson has brought hope to thousands of people and inspired many others to take the first step. Mine is just an idea. We need more schools in our villages. But we also need to give vocational training to people, especially the womenfolk. In all my travels across rural India, I've found very few centres that provide vocational training to rural women. And the ones that do, focus mainly on crafts, teaching and computers. What if women were also trained to become nurses? Wouldn't it be better for each village to have its own trained nurse, who would administer first aid, be equipped with midwifery skills, provide caring and treatment, create awareness about hygiene, health,  nutrition, family planning and sexually transmitted diseases and even assist a doctor in cases of emergency? In remote villages, which probably see a doctor only once in a fortnight or so, a village nurse can fill the gap in the healthcare system that the government is yet to provide for.   

Village nurses could help create awareness about hygiene, health, family planning and sexually transmitted diseases
A Times of India story says India will need 2.4 million nurses by 2012 to achieve the government's aim of a nurse-patient ratio of one nurse per 500 population. India has 2,000 nursing diploma schools, 1,200 nursing degree schools and 281 MSc nursing colleges that produces only around 60,000 nurses annually. Probably training a few women to work as nurses in their villages will make a small difference. What do you think?

1 comment:

Rushabhh Gandhi said...

worth giving a thought!!

the needs which government says should be converted into executable plans.

We can try!
Government can Do.