The National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) has lamented the shortage of qualified nurses and midwives in Nigerian hospitals and described the situation as unacceptable.
The NANNM also decried the poor funding of medical facilities across the country, and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, saying that the state of funding of government hospitals in the country is appalling.
The chairperson, NANNM, FCT Council, Comrade Deborah Yusufu, who spoke at the 2019 Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Nurses Week/Scientific workshop in Abuja, said government at all levels must address both the personnel and funding crisis in the health system if all the negative indices being recorded in the sector are to be reversed.
Comrade Yusufu said the health facilities at the primary health care and tertiary levels urgently needed more nurses and midwives; and therefore called on the government to embark on mass recruitment of qualified nurses and midwives immediately.
This, according to her, is necessary in order to address the challenges in the health sector, warning that all the efforts being made to achieve universal health coverage will be a mirage in the absence of qualified nurses and midwives in the hospitals.
“I therefore call on those in authority to please ensure immediate mass recruitment of nurses and midwives to cope with the volume of work required in our hospitals. All our hospitals are grossly in shortage of nurses and midwives and we all know how important they are to the health system. The country cannot continue like this if we want to achieve the universal health coverage,” she said.
She added that nurses are very important in the healthcare delivery system; playing a vital role in health promotion, prevention of diseases, treatment and care. She pointed out that the current shortage in manpower is taking a toll on nurses who sometimes have to work overtime to care for patients.
She said: “Nurses are often the first and the only health professionals that people see and the quality of their initial assessment, care and treatment is vital.”
Nurses are also part of their local community sharing its culture, strength and vulnerabilities and can shape and deliver effective interventions to meet the needs of patients, families and communities.”
She called on the nurses themselves to stick to the ethics of their profession so as to improve their image in the society, by rendering effective, efficient and excellent nursing care to patients in line with international best practices
Comrade Yusufu while also lamenting the poor state of funding and facilities in most of the public hospitals in the capital city, said it is high time the government addressed these issues.
She regretted that the health workers are being owed salaries and allowances even when they are overworked due to the shortage of personnel in the health facilities.
The FCT NANNM Chairperson, thereby, appealed to the government to urgently release funds to clear the arrears of salaries and allowance owed the health workers.
The National President of MHWUN, Comrade Biobelemoye Josiah, blamed the government for the poor state of health in the country.
On the move by the government to concession dome government hospitals, he said the unions in the health sector will begin consultations to forge a common front to oppose the concession plan.
According to home, for the healthcare services to remain affordable for the poor ones, government must retain its stake in public-owned hospitals and not privatise them.
He pointed out that the attempt by some persons to railroad the Federal Government into accepting to concession the teaching hospitals under the guise that it would to a better health sector, is fraudulent and unacceptable.
Biobelemoye recalled that the idea to privatise some hospitals was beought up in 2016 but he explained that President Muhammadu Buhari, reasoned with the unions and cancelled it.
He accused those clamouring for privatisation of the health sector of being responsible for the decay witnessed in the nation’s healthcare delivery.
He said “They have come again with the same sing-song again that it is only when they privatise that their managerial skill will better the system. Sincerely speaking, they want to cover-up the over 35 years of mess in the health sector.”