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On the occasion of International Nurses Day, President Pranab Mukherjee presented the National Florence Nightingale Awards to nursing personnel today at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Speaking on the occasion, the President said that nurses in India are at the forefront of our national healthcare system. Their contribution is central to its success. In a developing economy such as ours, nurses and midwives are crucial in delivering cost-effective and, at the same time, good quality healthcare. Our nation is proud of their services.
“Throughout the 20th century and into the 21st century, thanks to the improving quality of nursing services, significant gains have been made in increasing life expectancy and reducing child and maternal mortality in both urban as well as rural India,” he said.
The President said, “ The need to adapt our standards to the evolving demands of healthcare and update our capacities is self-evident. Our country needs to respond swiftly to healthcare challenges that keep coming up.” He was glad to see that the National Health Policy, 2017 envisages a new momentum in innovation and nursing. He stated that as Indian nurses take on greater local, national and international roles, we need to ensure appropriate professional development and human resource policies in our country – and increased involvement of nurses in policy development. The complexity of medical and healthcare practices today demands that nurses are fully involved in the planning, implementation, research and evaluation that goes into the successful delivery of patient care.
“These functions come with responsibilities and accountability. The legal and policy framework of nursing protocols and standards of practice must facilitate optimal utilization of competencies,” the President said.
The guiding theme selected by the International Council of Nurses this year is "Nurses: A Voice to Lead, Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals”.
The President expressed his concerns over shortages of nurses. He said that while most countries have a shortage of nurses, the situation continues to be quite acute in India, primarily due to the migration of the large number of nurses we produce from our institutions.
“India’s low nurse to population ratio reminds us that much more capacity needs to be built with closer co-between States and the Central Government. I call upon nurse educators to inculcate – if not surpass - the world’s best, professional, nursing and midwifery educational standards. This endeavour will raise the quality of nursing education in India and also create paths for professional advancement in line with national, regional and global health needs,” said Mukherjee.
The Florence Nightingale Awards inspires the entire nursing fraternity to rededicate themselves to quality healthcare.