The Role of the District Public Health Nurses: A Study from Gujarat
The role of the DPHNs has reduced over the years because they have not been assigned new roles with change in programmes and policies. Most of the DPHNs have training for clinical work in hospitals. Their 10 month training to qualify for PHN is inadequate to develop knowledge and skills in public health. There is a gap between their training and posting due to delays in government procedures of promotion. The DPHN/DPHNOs spend majority of their time in the office (49%) where they have a limited role. Their supervisory role for nurses and midwives has lost its importance. They spend about 1/3rd of their time in field supervision mostly visiting centres accessible by public transport as they do not have an allotted government vehicle. As they do not submit any field report, there is no follow-up action from their visit. Nevertheless they seem to have an important role in solving problems of field workers as they are mediators between the district and peripheral facilities. To conclude the DPHNs are under utilized which affects the quality of maternal and child health services in the district. [Working Paper No. 2010-02-04]
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