Bangladesh has immense prospect in health education and can be a hub for nursing training with proper recruitment policy, faculty and leadership development.
Professor and the founding Dean of the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Aga Khan University East Africa, Yasmin Amarsi, who visited Dhaka recently, felt that Bangladesh has qualified nurses but with a more structured system, better services can be delivered.
Amarsi, who has been in the profession for four decades, came to Dhaka to assess how Aga Khan Development Network can help Bangladesh in developing nursing profession.
Quality, relevancy, access and making a difference are the four principles of engagement of any Aga Khan-led initiative and here it would not be exception, she said.
She met government officials and nurses during her stay. Amarsi told the Dhaka Tribune in an exclusive interview that at least 500 nurses in Bangladesh have masters degrees and some even have PhD degrees.
A Nursing Council governs the profession, while a nursing association looks after their interests, which gives a very positive picture.
She said faculty and leadership development can take nursing to new heights.Up-to-date curriculum, modern teaching and learning strategy, good university, qualified teachers among other issues can be addressed under the faculty development programme, she said. She felt that with the improvement of faculty, many from abroad will come to Bangladesh to study nursing.
There is a shortage of three million nurses and Bangladesh can supply a portion of that. She was of the view that one-year clinical specialisation diploma programmes to develop nurses specliased in intensive care and paediatrics should be introduced.
Bangladeshi nurses only work in hospitals but the international trend is that they also do a lot of service in the community.
“They can do a lot in research or they can conduct clinics,” she said, adding that diversifying in this way would attract young people.
She felt that leadership development is important for the nurses as it will help them become self-confident decision makers and fight for their rights.
She suggested doctors and nurses to study together for at least two years at the university. In the first two years, they should have same basic courses and by studying together, doctors will learn to respect nurses.
Absence of a recruitment rule is the biggest challenge facing nursing profession here, she said. Amarsi said AKDN is yet to have a concrete plan in developing the sector.
“We are still at the process of assessing,” she said, adding: “I will prepare an assessment report and share it with the government.”