Nurturing a Nation: Glimpse of Mizoram's Nursing Sector and India’s Healthcare Horizon
The healthcare industry has become the largest employer in the global economy, and nurses form an integral part of it. Historically, nursing has been rooted in Western, Anglo-European culture, often drawing inspiration from the pioneering figure of Florence Nightingale. However, a significant moment occurred when the Hon'ble Indian President Droupadi Murmu presented the National Florence Nightingale Awards for the year 2021 to Pi Vanlalrovi from Mizoram. This event highlighted the rich nursing history originating from the northeastern foothills of India.
The history of nursing in the region can be traced back to the healing and ritual practices prevalent in traditional Mizo society. Colonial ethnographers played a significant role in documenting these practices, providing valuable first-hand accounts that shed light on various healing and ritualistic customs. Additionally, Mizo authors like James Dokuma and B. Lalthangliana have contributed to our understanding of these practices through their writings. The works of Mizo theologians such as Rev. Dr. Zairema in "Pi Pute Biak Hi" and Rev. Saiaithanga in "Mizo Sakhua" offer insights into the traditional Mizo worldview, further enriching our knowledge of nursing's historical roots in the region.
The healthcare system in India is one of the largest and most complex in the world, serving a population of over 1.4 billion people. The nation is aiming at achieving universal healthcare, and nurses and midwives will be critical to India achieving this coverage. About two-thirds of India's health workforce is comprised of nurses. There is a global shortage of health workers, in particular nurses and midwives, who represent more than 50% of the current shortage of health workers as per World Health Organization standards; to reach Sustainable Development Goal 3 on health and well-being, WHO estimates that the world will need an additional 9 million nurses and midwives by the year 2030.
It is imperative that we recognize the critical role that nursing, and paramedic professionals play in our healthcare system in India. These individuals are on the front lines of patient care, providing essential medical support to our communities. Nursing and paramedic professionals work closely with doctors and other medical professionals to provide comprehensive care to patients. They are often the first point of contact for patients, performing critical tasks such as taking vital signs, administering medication, and providing emotional support.
The government and private healthcare institutions prioritize the recruitment and training of more nursing and paramedic professionals to ensure that we have enough qualified staff to meet the needs of our population. This has been achieved by offering financial incentives, scholarships, and other resources to encourage more people to enter the field. The Regional Institute of Paramedical and Nursing Science (RIPANS), Aizawl was set up by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India in 1995-96 to provide nursing, pharmacy, and paramedical education to the people of North-east and to maintain the pace of nursing education and nursing services with other developments in medical and technological services. This institution became a benchmark in this specific sector in the northeast.
However, the nursing and paramedic profession in India has been facing significant challenges for years. One of the most pressing issues is the shortage of trained professionals, which is a serious concern given the growing demand for healthcare services and got highlighted after the COVID aftermath.
Nursing and paramedic professionals often work in difficult conditions, dealing with complex patient cases, despite this they are required to maintain high levels of professionalism and skill.
- Need for more nurses: Ayushman Bharat initiatives give an impetus to the training of nurses and allied health professionals for the delivery of skilled support services in secondary and tertiary care.
- Need for better distribution: While the number of nursing education institutions has steadily increased, there are significant disparities in their distribution.
To address the challenges faced by the nursing and paramedic profession in India, the following measures have been taken: -
- In Union Budget 2023, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in line with this vision of India@100 and Amrit Kaal, announced the establishment of 157 new nursing colleges in co-location with the existing 157 medical colleges, established since 2014.
- The exodus of qualified nurses must be stopped by incentivizing them to pursue advanced degrees that correspond to their qualifications, providing clear career paths, and opportunities for leadership roles, and improving the status of nursing as a profession.
- Improving the nursing and paramedic profession in India is not only essential for improving the quality of care provided to patients but also for driving economic growth.
- In the absence of any Central Regulatory body for Allied and Healthcare Professions, the Central Government enacted the National Commission for Allied and Healthcare Professions (NCAHP) Act, 2021 on 28th March 2021 for regulating the education and services of the allied and healthcare professionals.
- Standardized ‘National Emergency Life Support (NELS)’ modules for doctors, nurses, and paramedics have been developed, and training for doctors, nurses, and paramedics is provided under the same norms approved under National Health Mission.
- Moreover, the nursing and paramedic profession also has the potential to create significant employment opportunities, particularly for women. UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell's at the 76th World Health Assembly Roundtable Event: Protecting and Investing in the Health and Care Workforce: An Action-oriented Agenda for the Second Half of the SDGs mentioned that women account for 70 percent of all health workers, 90 percent of nurses and midwives and nearly 75 percent of community health workers., making it an ideal profession to address gender disparities in the workforce.
- The National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog recently developed a framework for public-private collaboration in medical education that could be used to develop a model agreement for nursing education. · A technology platform ‘Nurses Registration & Tracking System’- A Live Register of Nurses has been developed by the Indian Nursing Council and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The Indian Nurses Live Register is an online registry that provides the latest information on the currently practicing nurses, thereby helping the government in better manpower planning and policymaking for the nursing professionals in India.
India's healthcare sector offers promising investment opportunities. With its substantial revenue and employment growth, a growing middle class, and the adoption of digital technologies, the sector shows great potential. The Indian government has implemented reforms and favorable policies, including initiatives to boost domestic manufacturing. The COVID-19 pandemic has further accelerated innovation and the expansion of telemedicine and home healthcare.
Investors can consider opportunities in various segments, including hospitals in Tier 2 and Tier 3 locations, domestic pharmaceutical manufacturing, contract manufacturing and research, over-the-counter drugs, vaccines, medical devices, diagnostic and pathology centers.
There are nearly 600 investment opportunities worth $ 32 Billion (INR 2.3 Lakh Crore) in the hospital/medical infrastructure sub-sector on Indian Investment Grid (IIG), a platform maintained by Invest India for showcasing investment opportunities by sector.
|Sector||Investment Opportunities (IIG)|
|502 Opportunities worth $ 25.39 Billion|
|Pharma, Biotech & Lifesciences||97 Opportunities worth $ 152.02 Million|
Nursing offers both emotional fulfillment and personal rewards. Today, the field provides numerous job opportunities, diverse specializations, and competitive salaries, making it an ideal time to embark on a career as one of society's compassionate caregivers.