Govt taskforce to address health professionals

Health (MoH) has decided to form a taskforce to recommend the government to resolve problems faced by nurses and other health professionals.Following a meeting with officials of the Council for Technical Education and Vocational Training (CTEVT) on Friday, Health Minister Gagan Kumar Thapa directed officials to work towards forming the taskforce in a few weeks.

“A major issue in nursing education is that we lack assessment to project our need and
absorption capacity,” said Minister Thapa. “As a result, nurses are being exploited by hospitals and many of them are working as volunteers.” He said once the taskforce submits its report, they would instruct all hospitals to hire nurses on contract and immediately put an end to the trend of

volunteering.Recently, even nurses had taken to the streets to fight against ‘forced volunteerism’ which they said is a way to exploit their devotion to academics and learning, and their commitment to the nursing field. The nurses then formed the Anti-corruption Nurse Group whose demands include an end to volunteerism and an entry-level salary of Rs18,000 for nurses with a bachelor’s degree.

In the meeting, the CTEVT and nursing council officials had said that many nurses with international degrees, especially from India, are not meeting the national standards. Each year, more than 1,000 students go aboard, especially to India, for nursing studies.According to the Nepal Nursing Council, a regulatory body for nursing education in Nepal, around 15-20 percent of nurses, who graduate from Nepali nursing colleges and other colleges in places such as Bangalore, India, fail their licensing examinations.