From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) has raised the alarm over insufficient number of nurses in the country, saying there were about 125, 000 registered nurses servicing the health needs of over 200million Nigerians.
Its President, Abdulrafiu Adeniji, who disclosed this at the 7th Quadrennial National Delegates Conference in Abuja, yesterday, attributed the shortage to the continuous exodus of registered and qualified nurses from Nigeria abroad. Adeniji said the country required a minimum of 800,000 nurses to meet its heath needs and also lamented the toll COVID-19 had taken on the nursing profession in the country.
“Nigeria is faced with inadequate manpower as regards nurses. As we are producing them, some countries of the world are already waiting by the corner, luring them with good packages and conducive working environment.
“Similarly, many registered nurses with years of experience are retiring on daily basis and there is no immediate replacement plan. Nigeria with a population of 200 million people ought to have 800, 000 active and registered nurses servicing the health needs of the people. Unfortunately, our database indicated that we have about 125, 000 registered nurses working in Nigeria. How can they do the work of the expected 800, 000 nurses in Nigeria? Not only that, nursing education in Nigeria is nothing to write home about. Many proprietors and institutions are inadequately funded, thus making the production of nurses and midwives obviously at the lowest end.The ravaging COVID-19 pandemic further worsened the situation and has greatly affected us in many phases. The Federal Government must acknowledge that nurses are the soldiers in the fight against COVID-19. Because we have a contract not only with the government of Nigeria, but to God and Nigerians.”
President, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba, in his remarks, appreciated the contributions of nurses and midwives to healthcare services in Nigeria, particularly following the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.
He reassured them of continuous industrial support, particularly as it concerns their welfare packages and other remunerations that could strengthen the profession.
“The success achieved so far in the fight against COVID-19 was dependent on nursing care. Nurses are basically the authorities in the nursing services.