KARACHI:Eight Pakistani nurses and midwives have been honoured in the global 2020 100 Outstanding Women Nurses and Midwives. All eight nurses and midwives from Pakistan are faculty or alumni at Aga Khan University’s School of Nursing and Midwifery, SONAM.

One hundred nurses and midwives from 43 countries have been recognised for their contribution to raising healthcare standards across the globe, especially during these difficult times. These outstanding leaders have been acknowledged by Women in Global Health (WGH), which collaborated with the World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Population Fund, Nursing Now, International Council of Nurses and International Confederation of Midwives on the list.

The recognition marks the end of the WHO’s yearlong Year of the Nurse and the Midwife 2020 campaign, which recognises the vital role of nurses and midwives in providing health services and in helping achieve targets under the global sustainable development goals.

The School’s Dean Dr Rozina Karmaliani has been honoured under the Board and Management category in recognition of her efforts to spearhead improvements in adolescent health, strengthen research capacities and integrate research into education and practice.

Faculty members Yasmin Parpio and Samina Vertejee have been appreciated under the Community Hero category for their services in community health nursing, while Saima Sachwani is recognised for her contributions in developing impactful nursing curriculum under the Human Capital Development category. Nurse-midwife Marina Baig has also been lauded for leveraging mobile health technology to improve maternal health outcomes under the Innovation, Science and Health category.

Three SONAM alumni have also been recognised under the Community Hero category. They include Dr Shela Hirani for her efforts to promote, protect and support breastfeeding during the COVID-19 pandemic, Neelam Punjani for her work in improving access to sexual and reproductive health rights and Sadaf Saleem for her contributions to geriatric nursing.

“It is an honour to be acknowledged by the international public health and nursing fraternity,” said Dean Karmaliani. “This year has been particularly challenging for healthcare providers, all of whom have showed incredible commitment in their respective roles in responding to the COVID-19 crisis.”

“It is encouraging to see that our government and healthcare stakeholders in Pakistan are coming together and deliberating on investing in nursing and midwifery education, practice and research. There is no better time than now to acknowledge the critical role of nurses in creating resilient healthcare systems.”

The nominated women represent several hundreds of thousands of nurses and midwives globally who have been on the frontlines of the pandemic and have shown courage and compassion while working in a variety of clinical and community settings and while training and building the skills of healthcare professionals.

By acknowledging these nursing and midwifery leaders, WGH renews its call to WHO member nations to establish and support strategic leadership positions for nurses and midwives in health facilities, involve them in key decisions, support diversity in recruitment strategies, reduce the gender pay gap and ensure a safe work environment.