Nurses, Midwives Lament Inadequate Protective Equipment

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Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja

The National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) has expressed concern over inadequate provisions of personal protective equipment (PPE) for its members serving and attending as front line health workers to persons infected with COVID-19.

The President of the association, Abdrafiu Adeniji, who spoke to THISDAY yesterday on the recognition accorded the nurses and midwives at this year’s World Health Day celebration by the World Health Organisation (WHO), said the members have resolved to play a pivotal role to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

When asked if he is satisfied with the level of preparedness of the members to confront the virus, Adeniji said: “ No, we cannot say that materials are adequate or that every nurse and midwife are being supplied with personal protective equipment such as hand gloves, face mask, gown and other things that would help the nurses to carry out their duty. In some cases, running water may not be available.”

Adeniji said Nigerian nurses are prepared and are battle-ready to help tackle the COVID-19 scourge, but they have some challenges which the government should address.

He however said that much as the members of the nursing profession were prepared to contribute their quota, all issues that weaken their enthusiasm must be addressed.

He said it is unfortunate that whereas the WHO recognises the prime position nurses occupy in the fight against COVID-19 and it is calling for paramount position to be given to them, the nurses are being neglected in Nigeria.

He listed some of the key factors that determine a good working environment for the nurses to include welfare, security, good infrastructure, and equipment.

“Apart from providing equipment and welfare of nurses and midwives, they should be involved in policy making in the hospitals and the health sector.

“There is the need to make the hospital environment conducive for us to operate. You can have a hospital with infrastructure, but without the nurses to compliment it, it can’t function. The situation in most Nigerian hospitals is so challenging but just like one who is set to achieve a target, we are ready for collaboration with all the other stakeholders to see to the end of the coronavirus pandemic,” he said.