Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City
In order to curb brain drain in the nursing profession in Nigeria, the President, National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives, University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), Mr. Osigbemhe Augustine has urged the federal government to design a good reward system.
Speaking at a rally to mark the international world nursing year in Benin City, Osigbemhe also said the Nigeria government should make deliberate efforts at increasing the number of nurses in Nigeria through training, retraining and proper renumeration.
He said: “Honestly, Nigeria has nurses but they keep leaving this country. In all hospitals in Nigeria, we keep losing nurses because they travel overseas in search of greener pastures and I don’t blame them because they need to meet their family financial obligations so government needs to stop this brain drain by providing a good rewarding system.
“In Nigeria today, there is acute shortage of nurses, the fact is that in critical setting of nursing, you need one nurse per four patients but in other settings like normal wards, you need one nurse to seven patients.
“When you have three nurses to thirty patients, it falls below expectations, so what United Nations has in mind is to encourage governments to pay great attention to nursing as a profession so that we can build that critical part of the health sector that is the major backbone of the industry”.
He said the essence of declaring this year as the year of nursing profession by the World Health Organisation (WHO) was to draw the attention of the world to the training and capacity building of nurses in order for the professionals to be able to meet the ever increasing health challenges of the population of the world.
“We count the population of the world in billions today but we have just 29.9 million nurses world-wide and that means every nation that is a member of world Health Organisation has about three nurses to a thousand patients.
“For instance in Nigeria, we do not have up to two nurses to a thousand patients. In other words, we have less than two nurses per a thousand patients in Nigeria so you can see that we have small number of nurses when compared to the number of people in the nation.
“There are lots of health challenges and you need the nurse to tackle them because the nurse is the major backbone of the health sector. We need over nine million nurses in Nigeria to meet up to the numbers the patients need.”