Sunday will be celebrated as International Nurses Day, to commemorate the birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale.

The theme for this year is, ‘Closing the gap: Millennium development goals’ with special emphasis on reducing maternal and infant mortality, and combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases. In the run-up to the day, several government and private hospitals organised functions to honour nurses and recognise their role in providing healthcare.

But for nurses, Sunday is just one day when they can set aside their workload for a few hours.

The State is doing well in terms of health indicators and is next only to Kerala, according to Jaeny Kemp, president of Tamil Nadu branch of Trained Nurses Association of India.

But even if the government appointed 10,000 nurses, it would be difficult to achieve the millennium development goals by 2015, the expert said.

S. Elango, former director of public health, echoed her concern. If nurses received due recognition in the form of proper training and awards from the State government, they would be an asset, he said.

“The State’s community health nursing cannot be compared to Gujarat, Kerala or Delhi. There has been little effort to train healthcare workers here,” he said.

“The State should recognise the nursing cadre, build a pool of community health nurses and revive the training school for multipurpose health workers,” he said.

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