May 14, 2010

India needs over 10 lakh more nurses, says health minister Azad

Expressing concern over the shortage of nurses in healthcare and hospital administration, Union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said the shortfall was a whopping 60%.

"Around four lakh nurses in the country are in active service. Around 10 lakh more nurses are required at present," Azad said. He was speaking at the National Florence Nightingale Awards being given to nurses for meritorious services.

There are around 10.35 lakh nurses registered with the Nursing Council of India of whom an estimated 40% are in active service. Many have retired or have gone abroad or given up nursing services after marriage. That leaves only around four lakh nurses in the country in active service, the minister said.

In order to meet the shortage of nurses and bring the availability of nursing personnel on par with developed countries, an expenditure of over Rs 2,000 crore is being incurred to establish infrastructure for promoting nursing in the country.

About 132 auxiliary nursing and midwifery schools and 137 general nursing and midwifery schools are expected to come up while nursing councils and nursing cells are being strengthened at different states and districts.

Along with this, the government has also relaxed certain norms to encourage more admissions to nursing courses.

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