Nurses and midwives, under the auspices of National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), Lagos State chapter, have expressed concerns over their safety and alleged insufficient tools needed to manage coronavirus patients.
In a statement signed by the chairman of the association, Israel Blessing, the nurses raised the alarm over what they termed poor working environment in the state and decried the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE), as well as poor welfare packages for health care workers.
Blessing lamented that most of the expected PPEs were not available for use in the state and nurses were exposed to unnecessary risk in the course of their work. She said some nurses had tested positive for COVID-19 and were at isolation centres for management.
“This set of people will require immediate activation of their insurance policy. Also, about 25 nurses are in self-quarantine after being exposed to cases of COVID-19. This is telling on the already strained manpower at various health facilities, making the work overwhelming for nurses. Nurses are made to suffer avoidable consequences arising from poor conditions of service and lack of recognition. We, who form the majority of the frontline health care professionals in the society, are being subjected to hardship and diverse risks while performing our duties
“We are pained to request as well as appeal for support from the management of health service delivery of the state for easy transportation, provision of consumables, supplies and feeding for our nurses since they now run 24-48 hours duty in different health care facilities. It is quite unfortunate and very disappointing to witness perpetual lip service vis-a-vis promises upon promises of robust packages for health workers in Nigeria, whereas little or nothing has been done till date. We need to be alive and in good health to be able to carry out our roles efficiently and effectively.
“The following must be urgently addressed: need for improvement in provision and supply of PPEs, which include surgical face masks, latex and elbow gloves and disposable gowns. There must also be concretised arrangements for insurance cover for nurses and upward review of the present ridiculous hazard allowance for all health care workers.
“We appeal to the state government to extend the welfare packages to those of our members and other health care professionals working in all other health care facilities across the state as they are also exposed to high hazardous environment. Most of the COVID-19-infected clients are often referred to the isolation centres, from these other health care facilities of the state after thorough assessment,” Blessing said.
The association, however, commended the LAgos State government, led by the governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, for his efforts to win the fierce battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.
The nurses called on residents to adhere to the stay-at-home order, maintain physical distancing, personal and environmental hygiene, and use sanitisers, among others.
“In the interest of the general populace, we urge the State Government to beef up security as the rate of attacks by hoodlums and armed robbers on some of our members is on the rise probably due to hunger, and possibly psychological disturbances occasioned by the lockdown.”