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Private hospitals hire foreign nurses

Say most local nurses lack necessary skills

Sajia Afrin

Leading private hospitals in Bangladesh are employing foreign nurses while over 10,000 local diploma nurses are left without job.
The hospitals say they are employing foreign nurses because they are better trained.
Different private hospitals in the capital have hired nurses from India, Sri Lanka and the Philippines, said the hospital authorities.
‘We employ foreign nurses in critical section of the hospital,’ said Shagufa Anwar, general manager, business development of Apollo Hospitals Dhaka.
The foreign nurses are more competent to handle critical patients, she said adding that these nurses were posted mainly at the intensive care unit, coronary care unit and operation theatre.
Currently 300 nurses are working at Apollo Hospitals Dhaka. Of them around 25 are foreign nurses, she said.
‘We have no option but to hire foreign nurses as local nurses lack necessary expertise to deal with critical cases,’ Shagufa said.
She said they had also employed some trainer nurses to train up local nurses.
‘But after being trained many nurses left our hospital and went abroad with jobs, mostly in Middle-eastern countries,’ she said.
Like Apollo Hospitals Dhaka, United Hospital Limited and Square Hospitals Limited have also employed foreign nurses.
Health experts said courses of study for nurses here followed foreign curriculums. ‘There is no difference between education of local and foreign nurses,’ said Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University vice-chancellor Pran Gopal Datta.
The nursing course curriculum in Bangladesh follows the curriculum of Thailand, said Khandaker M Shifayetullah, director general of the directorate general of health services.
‘I think there is no lacking in our course curriculum,’ said Pran Gopal Datta. But there is lack of commitment among the nurses, he said.
According to the current course curriculum, nurses visit hospital in the second year, Shifayetullah said. ‘I think this visit should start from the first day of their education.’
‘Sympathy and responsibility towards the patients should grow in them from the very beginning of their training,’ he said.
The experts also suggested a return to the previous system of examination under the nursing council which they said was essential to improve the quality of nursing.
At present every organisation holds the examination separately, said health ministry officials.
They said bachelor’s degree in nursing had already been introduced in five medical colleges. BSMMU has also started BSc nursing course.
Currently the government hospitals have around 38,000 beds and private hospitals around 36,000 beds. There are around 60,000 doctors currently working in the hospitals across the country while only 26,000 diploma registered nurses were employed in the hospitals.
In the government hospitals there are 29,000 doctors while only 18,726 nurses are working there.
Around 10,000 diploma nurses remain unemployed, of them over 3000 nurses have crossed their age limit to apply for job, said the unemployed nurses.
The health ministry officials said the government was yet to create posts for the BSc nurses who were supposed to pass nursing course in the next year.
Health secretary Muhammad Humayun Kabir said there was a lack of skill among the nurses in Bangladesh. ‘We have to develop skills to attain international standard.’
‘But we have set a limit for appointment of foreign nurses. They cannot employ many foreign nurses,’ he said. 
Humayun Kabir said the nursing course curriculum would also be updated soon.




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