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Crisis prompts state to fund nursing education

Kolkata: The state has allotted a fund of Rs 56.58 crore for strengthening nursing education in Bengal to tide over the crisis of nurses in state-run hospitals and health centres.

Work is on to set up nursing colleges at SSKM Hospital, North Bengal Medical College and Hospital, Burdwan Medical College and Hospital, Nursing Training Schools at Suri Sadar Hospital and Alipurduar District Hospital.

According to a health department source, there are 89 Nursing and Midwifery (GNM) schools in the state so far. The government has decided to set up 27 new GNM schools in the state. One of the main objectives of the initiative is to boost health infrastructure, particularly in rural areas.

This apart, the state has taken up various initiatives to increase the number of nursing staff in the hospitals.

In September 2017, five new GNM schools with 60 seats each were started at Jhargram and Basirhat district hospitals, Ghatal and Jangipur sub-divisional hospitals and College of Medicine and Sagore Dutta Hospital.

The total number of GNM seats has been raised to 3,065 from 2,175 to train more nurses.

The state has also joined hands with the UK government to boost nursing and health-related infrastructure and the health department has come up with a two-year programme under the Ministry of Skill development Entrepreneurship and UK India Education Research Institute Project III on nursing skill development and to improve the quality of mental health care. The move aims to impart quality training to nursing students in the state.

The budget allocation in the health sector in Bengal has been raised to Rs 9,552.70 crore in the current financial year from Rs 682 crore in 2011. This indicates the emphasis laid by the Mamata Banerjee government to improve the health sector in Bengal. The number of doctors in state hospitals, which was 4,500 in 2011, has gone up to 10,900 in 2019 while the number of nurses has also witnessed a sharp increase from 37,366 to 52,820.

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