KARACHI: The federal government has constituted a 15-member body to take care of long-neglected issues relating to the nursing profession, it emerged on Saturday.

Officials in the ministry of national health services, regulations and coordination issued a notification earlier this week saying that in pursuance of the decision taken in a meeting for constitution of a forum for nurses titled ‘Nursing now’, the federal government had formed the body.

Officials said the forum would be headed by Dr Assad Hafeez, director general health, while Dr Arshad K. Chandio, director regulations of the ministry, would be its secretary.

Dr Sarah Ashraf, president, Pakistan Nursing Council and directors of general nursing in Sindh, Punjab, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa would be its members.

Three other nominated members have been notified; they are: Dr David Arthur, representative of nursing education, and Dr Sameen Siddiqui, public health professional, from Sindh and Irum Yaqoob, representative of clinical nursing, from Islamabad.

Another five co-opted members are: Inayat Ullah, a male nurse from Balochistan, Khalida Parveen, clinical instructor, from Islamabad, Raeesa Gul from Islamabad, Ghulam Dastagir, president, Sindh Nursing Association, and Bibi Ara, programme officer clinical of NGO Jhpiego.

According to the notification, the forum would work under the terms of reference, which include working with the federal government’s ministry of NHSRC, PNC, World Health Organisation and the International Council of Nurses to harness the energies of national and regional bodies to enhance the voice of nurses and midwives as leaders.

Besides, it would develop a cohesive and motivated forum aimed at raising the status and profile of nursing and midwifery in Pakistan.

Since the nursing profession has long been neglected by the government and other related authorities, this forum has been given the task to empower Pakistani nurses and midwives.

The skills of nurses and midwives would be enhanced to the level that they could tackle the emerging healthcare challenges.

The forum is required to hold regular meetings of leaders and members for decision making about national healthcare, nursing and midwifery issues.

It is also mandated to participate in global ‘Nursing Now’ activities as a unified Pakistani body of nurses and midwives.

Besides, the officials said, the forum would collaborate with the health departments and the Pakistan National Council to organise national seminars and conferences aimed at raising the voice of nursing and midwifery community.

The new body would also provide support and capacity building activities for research, and developing educational and clinical initiatives across Pakistan.

In addition to this, it will promote publication of quality and peer-reviewed nursing journal to provide a forum for Pakistani and regional nurses and midwives to showcase their research and educational and clinical activities.

The forum is also tasked with collaborating with universities and nurse education providers to formalise and administer a national system of nurse and midwifery education.

Published in Dawn, August 5th, 2018