By Michael Olugbode
The Borno State Governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum, has approved the recruitment of 594 medical practitioners in the state.
Among those to be employed include 84 medical doctors, 365 nurses and midwives, 45 pharmacists and 100 health technicians and other supportive staff.
The governor gave the approval on Monday in Maiduguri at the end of a meeting with Borno’s public healthcare stakeholders attended by the Chairman, Borno Assembly’s Committee on Health, Commissioner for Health, Dr. Salihu Kwayabura; Chairman, National Association of Nurses and Midwives, Umar Shettima; and heads of the state’s Health Management Board, Contributory Health Scheme, and Primary Healthcare Development Agency amongst other stakeholders. The meeting was held at the Government House.
Zulum disclosed that of the 365 nurses and midwives to be employed would comprise mainly fresh graduates, while the others would be recruited from experienced personnel who had earlier retired from the Borno State Civil Service after years of serving in hospitals as nurses and midwives but now had to be recalled on contractual basis.
The governor further disclosed that of the 84 medical doctors, some would be recruited as permanent staff, while others would be engaged on contract and in sabbatical services.
Zulum noted that the 45 pharmacists and 100 technicians and supportive staff he approved would work in laboratories and other diagnostic sections as key components of the health sector.
The governor said the far reaching decision was aimed at drastically increasing the number of healthcare professionals across the state so as to bridge existing gaps in citizens-doctors and nurses ratio, and to eventually match the increase of hospitals and primary healthcare centres in the state.
It would be recalled that 51 health facilities were established by the administration.
The governor also said approval was given for the state College of Nursing and Midwifery to begin annual foundation programmes that will aim to admit 200 student nurses and midwives.
He said the foundation will commence with an initial 135 student nurses, with five drawn from each of Borno’s 27 local government areas.
The governor said the state will however enter agreement with all students, who will enjoy steady payment of allowances, that on graduation from the colleges, they will not leave the state until after working in the state’s health sector over a period of time for which they will be paid like other workers.
Zulum also announced that the state will soon embark on aggressive construction of new staff quarters for doctors, nurses and midwives to encourage productivity.
The Commissioner for Health, Dr. Kwayabura, pledged the commitment of all stakeholders in the health sector to improve access to quality and affordable medical services in line with Governor Zulum’s development objectives.