The National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) has decried the shortage of nurses and midwives.
The association further charged government at all levels to recruit more nurses and midwives if the nation must commit to the reduction of maternal and child mortality rate.
The association also said if Nigeria wants to avoid needless deaths of her citizens, the government should ensure employment of such frontline healthcare workers to cater for the health needs of country.
The charge was made at the just concluded National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the association held in Lagos recently, where the members bemoaned the state of healthcare and the challenges facing health workers in the country.
Speaking to journalists on the outcome of the NEC meeting, the president of the association, Abdrafiu Alani Adeniji, said though the government has put measures in place to reduce maternal mortality in the country, it was not enough if healthcare workers, who are custodians of patients and healthcare services are neglected and are not recognised.
He said: “In Nigeria today, there is ignorance about who a nurse is. The statistics is alarming and what we have in place today is a very precarious situation, which in the next five years, more than 50 per cent of trained and experienced Nigerian nurses would have retired.
“Unfortunately, the government is not putting in place measures to even sustain those ones that have been trained, and you know that there is embargo on employment, this is why I always call on the government to declare emergency in the area of recruitment of Nigerian nurses and midwives.”
He noted that recruiting a nurse would promote elongation of life expectancy of Nigerian citizenry by almost 10 to 20 per cent, while recruiting in groups would change “what we use to have presently that is very appalling”.
The association, Adenuji said, seriously frowned at the specific case of abduction and killing of a midwife, Saifura Husseina Khorsa who was brutally murdered in line of duty in Borno state by her abductors.
He said: “The act is totally unacceptable to all nurses and midwives in Nigeria. The association of staff is concerned that our hospitals and healthcare centres in Nigeria are yet to be free from assault, incessant attack, kidnapping and maiming even as much as killing.
“We are concerned that without security in the health sector, there can’t be quality and safe healthcare services.
“We however call on government and stakeholders to contribute and ensure adequate protection and security in all healthcare facilities throughout the federation, as well as secure the prompt release of other healthcare workers still held in hostage by abductors.”
Also expressing her displeasure, the Chairman, Board of Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria, Dr. Abosede Ofi demanded the official gazette on the approved Unified Scheme of Service for Nurses and Midwives in Nigeria, which was approved by the National Council on establishment since August 2016.
The association further called for holistic review of the task shifting/sharing policy document, which according to members leave task related to lives of mothers and children into the hands of skilled non-professionals, thereby compromising their health.