The government decision to change the nurses' uniform is being implemented slowly as the majority of the health care providers are reluctant to take up their new attire. Most women staff nurses, especially the senior ones, are not willing to trade their white saris for western outfits.
They are not comfortable in shirt and trousers and are used to the old uniform.
"Nurses keep complaining about the uniform. We have informed them twice about the health ministry's decision to change their uniform," said Shirin Akhter, assistant director (administration) of Directorate General of Nursing and Midwifery (DGNM).
According to a circular of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on November 21, olive green shirt, cap and black trousers with black shoes would replace the white sari and cap.
There are about 30,000 nurses across the country. About 90 percent of them are women, said Assaduzzaman Jewel, general secretary of Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) unit of Bangladesh Nurses Association (BNA).
He added that the nurses are slowly adopting their new uniforms. But that is mostly because they are not paid their dress and washing allowances of around Tk 850 a month if they did not switch to the new uniform.
Majority of over 2,200 nurses at DMCH have been wearing the old uniform. However, most staffers at Dhaka Nursing College near DMCH are wearing the olive green uniform in compliance with the directive.
Nurses at Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College Hospital, National Institute of Traumatology and Orthopaedic Rehabilitation, and National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases were seen donning the new outfit, but with a white apron on top.
Forty-three-year-old Jahanara Khatun, a nurse at NICVD, said, “I have been in this profession for 18 years. My white sari was a symbol of my service. Although I am wearing the new uniform now, I am not comfortable in it."
Nazma Khatun, general secretary of Mymensingh Medical College Hospital unit of BNA, said only about 25 of the hospital's 800 nurses had been wearing the new uniform.
Most nurses at the hospital do not like olive green. They want it to be white, which, to them, represents serenity, she added.
By Shaheen Mollah and Shadma Malik,
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