Abdulrafiu Adeniji, the President of, National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) says the country is currently facing a dearth of nurses to match the needed workforce.
Adeniji, who made the call at the opening of a five-day 7th Quadrennial National Delegates Conference of NANNM in Abuja on Tuesday, urged governments to employ more nurses.
The association’s president also urged the government to consider the aging proportion of Nigerian nurses, the problem of brain drain, and do something urgently to fill the gap.
He said “Nigeria has lost many good hands; as we are producing, developed countries are taking them up, health workers are retiring and there is no replacement.
“Permit me to quote a source which says — Nigeria at present with 200 million population, needs to have 800,000 active nurses.
“We have at least 125,000 active nurses, how can 125,000 nurses do the work of 800,000 nurses in Nigeria?” he asked.
He, however, commended the health workers’ commitment to nursing care in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that health workers owe allegiance to God.
“The first pledge of a nurse is to Almighty God; the second allegiance is to his or her conscience; the third is to the government, and the fourth is to the people we are serving.
We are committed to fulfilling our obligation, whether the government does what is right or wrong,’’ Adeniji said.
In his remarks, Mr. Ayuba Wabba, the President of the Nigerian Labour Congress, commended nurses “for the wonderful innovation of conducting the both in-person and virtual conference.”
Wabba, who was the Chairman of the event, said COVID-19 had posed a lot of challenges as so many unions could not hold their congresses.
“For a trade union, delegates’ conference is one of the most important events because it is a period to review progress, achievements and also change leadership,’’ he said.
Mr Faruk Abubakar, the Registrar, Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria, said that the council was working to accredit more nurses and midwives to boost the health workforce in the country.
Abubakar said the council had been working with NANNM, and would improve its relationship with the association.
“We will be giving the President of NANNM, state chapters, the opportunity to welcome the newly inducted nurses and midwives from their chapters,’’ he said.
Abubakar, however, cautioned the workers against negative usage of social media, saying “we need to protect the nursing profession, so, use social media positively.’’
The National Chairman of the Joint Health Sector Workers Union (JOHESU), Mr. Biobelemoye Josiah, urged the workers to protect the profession and fight for their rights.
He said, “I urge you to practice your profession faithfully; we pledge to work with the incoming executives.”
Reporters report that the association is expected to hold its electronic election on Thursday, while the swearing-in ceremony of the new executives will hold on Friday.