India in need of 4.3 million more nurses by 2024 to meet WHO norms


Today, four premier nursing and midwifery professional organisations came together to launch a unique campaign to highlight the role of nurses and midwives and reinforce their contribution to the health care system of the country—through education, service and leadership.

Aptly named #NurseMidwife4Change, the force behind this campaign are All India Government Nurses Federation (AIGNF), an umbrella organization of nursing associations, Trade unions in government sector and federations; Trained Nurses Association of India (TNAI), a national professional organization of nursing and midwifery professionals in the government and private sector; Society of Midwives-India (SOMI), an organization with a mission to strengthen midwifery in India and Indian Nursing Council (INC), the national regulatory body for nursing education in India & member of the International Council of Nurse (ICN).

Speaking at the inauguration, Mrs. Khurana, Secretary General, All India Government Nurses Federation said, “Nurses and midwives form the cornerstone of healthcare delivery in India and are the unflinching pillars on which our healthcare system rests. Despite their undeniable role and contribution, they are often denigrated to be insignificant sacrificing angels bearing the whole burden with minimal support and dignity. The #NurseMidwife4Change campaign conceptualised by and for nurses and midwives of India aims to bring to light their true profile, status and contribution in the country by creating awareness about the multiple roles they play as educationists, service providers, specialist and leaders. Simultaneously, the campaign will spotlight some of the key issues facing this critical workforce today for example working conditions, remuneration and image in the society and highlight global and national recommendations for the overall growth and development of this professional cadre.”

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The COVID pandemic has clearly revealed the strengths and weaknesses of India’s healthcare system. While health care workers have been celebrated for saving lives, often at the risk of their own, the pandemic has also exposed the need to rapidly grow India’s health workforce by investing in their education, service and leadership. According to the State of World’s Nursing India profile, almost 47% of India’s health workforce consists of nurses and midwives. With 1.7 nurses per 1,000 population, India falls short of the WHO recommended rate of 3 nurses per 1,000 population.

The recently released State of the World’s Nursing Report 2020 and State of the World’s Midwifery 2021 also highlight that investment in nursing and midwifery will not only contribute to achieve health-related SDG targets, but also to education, gender and economic growth globally. Leadership, education and job creation are three top priorities for India to focus on as per these reports.

In-line with the global campaigns like Nursing Now and the Nightingale Challenge, #NurseMidwife4Change is aimed at supporting nurses and midwives to lead, to learn and to strengthen the profession. The WHO Global Strategic Directions for Nursing and Midwifery 2021-2025 presents evidence-based practices and an interrelated set of policy priorities that can help countries ensure that midwives and nurses optimally contribute to achieving universal health coverage and other population health goals.

This pan India programme is a call to all quarters of society, including policy makers, government, civil society, nursing and midwifery training institutions, the private and corporate sector, non-government organizations, and the people of this country to support its nurses and midwives through this campaign—not only to ensure that nurses and midwives get recognized for their immense contribution and role in the health care system, but also to prioritize investments to further strengthen this cadre so that they are able to perform their roles optimally and help the country achieve its health and welfare goals and targets.