Former Nollywood actress and model, Regina Askia-Williams, has lamented the plight of nurses in Nigeria, describing their working condition as embarrassing and a poor reflection of the glowing recognition of Nigerian nurses in foreign lands.
Regina, who relocated to the US where she is practising as a registered nurse, was the convener of nurses’ summit organised by Inspired Nurses Network, Africa (INNA) at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi Araba, on Thursday.
Appealing to the Federal Government and the nursing unions to improve upon the working environment of the nation’s nurses, the ‘Most Wanted’ actor stated that empowering and equipping the nurses will optimise service delivery in the health sector.
The 1989 Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria, who broke down in tears while addressing the nurses said, “When I came here, I was very impressed by the high spirits and passion displayed by the student-nurses. They sang the nursing anthem with so much pride and passion. And I felt so embarrassed knowing their working conditions. I felt so sad that nothing is done to help them render excellent healthcare services to their patients. And I hope to see a time when more will be done to empower the nurses.
“I have a comfortable life as a nurse in the US. I have all the equipment and incentives to perform optimally as a registered nurse. But when I look at the Nigerian nurses I feel so sad. How can you expect someone to bring out their best when they are demoralised, overworked, underpaid, disrespected, unappreciated and sometimes sexually abused? And because I have the visibility and the voice, I am going to lend it to this cause, to fight this battle and to ensure that you earn what you deserve as a nurse,” she said.
Regina, while enjoining the nurses to conduct themselves with dignity and highest professionalism, also charged filmmakers to portray nurses in stellar lights in their movies as nurses are not only gossip or tray carriers.
Speaking to Saturday Tribune about why she left the make-believe industry, the ‘High Way to the Grave’ actor said she has lost the passion for showbiz.
She said, “The entertainment industry found me and I loved it for a while. When that love was lost, I moved on.”