Nursing colleges mushroom, quality suffers


Arjun Poudel

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Ailing people in those days used to die in the absence of proper treatment facilities but the situation has not changed much in the 40 years since she joined the nursing profession, recounts staff nurse Meena Rayamajhi, 56. 
She said people in the far-flung districts are still dying for lack of treatment. 
Rayamajhi, who has served at several hospitals and health centers across the country, said that patients would die for lack of oxygen. 
"Lacking normal supplies of medicine, health workers have to struggle hard to care for the patients," she said, adding, "Health centers in remote places still lack sufficient infrastructure." 
Rayamajhi recalls an incident that she stills feels sorry about. "A woman patient who had been pleading with me to save her life died in my arms. But due to lack of oxygen we could not save her," she said. 
She said the woman was a heart patient and doctors had warned her not to conceive. She died during delivery. 
"She would not have died if we had had oxygen," she added. 
She said that remote health centers are unable to use their equipment due to lack of manpower and skills. 
Hospitals and nursing homes had been mushrooming in the cities, but these were beyond the reach of the poor. Such centers were opened with a business motive. 
Rayamajhi, a life member of Nepal Nursing Association, said government health institutions have been reeling under a health worker shortage, including a shortage of nurses. 
She feels that the government is not showing seriousness about the plight of the poor in far flung districts. 
The nusring association claims that the number of nurses in the country has crossed 40,000, but only 3,000 are working in government hospitals. 
Thousands of nursing graduates have been opting to go abroad due to lack of employment within the country but the government has been providing more licenses for new colleges. 
The government has given its approval for 118 nursing colleges, but quality has been compromised at various colleges, the association said. 
"More students have been attracted to nursing as they can get foreign visas easily," Rayamajhi added. 
The association on Sunday marked the 51st Nursing Day.
Article courtesy: Republica National daily