By Jamila Achakzai
The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has planned 1,500 scholarships for meritorious students wanting to pursue higher education in nursing and midwifery.
This was announced by HEC In-charge Shehnaz Wazir Ali at a seminar on ‘Making a Difference: Image Building of Nursing & Midwifery Professionals’ at the National Institute of Health Sciences (NIHS).
The HEC in-charge, while acknowledging the unavailability of quality nursing professionals in the country and lack of adequate educational opportunities for nurses, was of the view that the plan, once executed, would supply qualified, trained nurses and midwives to the national health system that would ensure better medical services in the country.
She regretted that the provision of quality education to health professionals, especially nurses, has never been a priority of successive governments, and added that however the present government is committed to provide better educational opportunities and due societal respect and status to nurses and midwives. “We’re taking up these issues on priority basis,” she said.
The HEC in-charge appreciated the collaboration between the Defence Housing Authority (DHA) and Harvard Medical International (HMI), USA, for detting up the NIHS consisting of colleges for nursing, pharmacy, allied health, dentistry and medicine, and billed the project as a symbol of close cooperation between Pakistan and the US.
NIHS Executive Director Dr. Arif Siddiqui, on the occasion, said that the DHA, Islamabad, has decided to set up a state-of-the-art teaching hospital along with a medical university in collaboration with the HMI to meet the demand for a quality medical institution in the country.
DHAI Education Foundation President Shahid Ahmed Khan said that the College of Nursing & Midwifery at NIHS would produce quality nurses and develop a faculty for nursing and midwifery programmes in the country. He said with particular emphasis on training of nursing and allied health staff, the college would meet the educational needs of nursing and midwifery students at Bachelors, Masters and PhD levels.
During the session, nursing professionals from across the country highlighted issues and challenges confronting them.
Partners of Harvard Medical International (PHMI), Massachusetts, USA, and Vice President Dr Thomas Aretz also attended the seminar that was followed by a function, in which Defence Secretary Athar Ali distributed certificates to participants of the faculty development programme on the successful completion of training.