National nursing and midwifery legislation in countries of South-East Asia with high HIV burdens
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National nursing and midwifery legislation in countries of South-East Asia with high HIV burdens

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    • Alternative Title:
      WHO South East Asia J Public Health
    • Description:
      This paper analyses nursing and midwifery legislation in high HIV-burden countries of the World Health Organization (WHO) South-East Asia Region, with respect to global standards, and suggests areas that could be further examined to strengthen the nursing and midwifery professions and HIV service delivery. To provide universal access to HIV/AIDS prevention, care and treatment, sufficient numbers of competent human resources for health are required. Competence in this context means possession and use of requisite knowledge and skills to fulfil the role delineated in scopes of practice. Traditionally, the purpose of professional regulation has been to set standards that ensure the competence of practising health workers, such as nurses and midwives. One particularly powerful form of professional regulation is assessed here: national legislation in the form of nursing and midwifery acts. Five countries of the WHO South-East Asia Region account for more than 99% of the region's HIV burden: India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal and Thailand. Online legislative archives were searched to obtain the most recent national nursing and midwifery legislation from these five countries. Indonesia was the only country included in this review without a national nursing and midwifery act. The national nursing and midwifery acts of India, Myanmar, Nepal and Thailand were all fairly comprehensive, containing between 15 and 20 of the 21 elements in the International Council of Nurses Model Nursing Act. Legislation in Myanmar and Thailand partially delineates nursing scopes of practice, thereby providing greater clarity concerning professional expectations. Continuing education was the only element not included in any of these four countries' legislation. Countries without a nursing and midwifery act may consider developing one, in order to facilitate professional regulation of training and practice. Countries considering reform to their existing nursing acts may benefit from comparing their legislation with that of other similarly situated countries and with global standards. Countries interested in improving the sustainability of scale-up for HIV services may benefit from a greater understanding of the manner in which nursing and midwifery is regulated, be it through continuing education, scopes of practice or other relevant requirements for training, registration and licensing.
    • Source:
      WHO South East Asia J Public Health. 4(102):12-19.
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