ISLAMABAD, July 21: President Gen Pervez Musharraf has called for bringing women to mainstream life to achieve sustainable economic development in the country.

Addressing a convention of nurses organised by the health ministry on Friday, he said the focus had now shifted to women’s economic empowerment. He assured the participants of the convention that women’s rights would be protected.

The president emphasised that the number of nurses, lady health visitors and midwives should be increased to expand the healthcare services in the country. He praised doctors, nurses and paramedics for the role they had played in the recovery of earthquake survivors and said that people belonging to the medical profession were the first to reach quake victims.

Gen Musharraf announced various measures for capacity building of the nursing staff and enhancing the quality of healthcare. He said the Higher Education Commission would be asked to introduce post-graduate studies in nursing in the proposed medical university in Islamabad.

He said 1,000 trainers would be recruited for skill building of nurses and paramedics and added that unemployed nurses would be retained on stipend. He announced 500 scholarships for nurses in local and foreign institutions.

Responding to demands, the president announced upgrading the post of staff nurse from BPS-14 to BPS-16 and the post of head nurse from BPS-16 to BPS-17.

He distributed awards among the outstanding nurses, midwives and lady health visitors.

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