By Asmau Ahmad
The National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) says Nigeria’s desire to attain Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) require the supports of Nurses and Midwives.
NANNM President, Mr Michael Nnachi, made the assertions on Friday at the association’s National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Abuja.
Nnachi spoke on the background of the brain drain syndrome plaguing the nation’s health sector, saying that urgent action needed to be taken to stem the trend.
He, however, advised nurses and midwives to be persistent in the discharge of their duties and wait for what the government would do between now and first quarter of 2023.
According to him, nurses and midwives must stay back and be patient, saying better days are still ahead of the profession.
He said between 2017 and 2022, no fewer than 57, 000 nurses left the shores of the country to other countries in search of greener pastures, adding that this continued almost every week.
Nnachi attributed the reasons to poor condition of service, lack of welfare packages and insecurity challenges such as spate of kidnappings.
He disclosed that the Federal Government, through the Ministry of Health, was already giving attention to the issue of brain drain, urging government to hurry up in its action.
Nnachi, commenting on the increment of salary and allowances due for the nurses and midwives, said that reviews and negotiations were ongoing on the issues.
On the brain drain challenge, he said that the nurses actually need to be recognised and properly or adequately compensated for the work they are doing to avoid lingering of the issue.
According to him, Nurses constitute over 50 per cent of the workforce in the health sector.
“As I speak, lots of people are leaving the shores of the country; between 2017 and 2022, over 57, 000 nurses have left. The reason for this is because of the poor condition of service; but, I believe, if the issue of salary is addressed, particularly given the nurses and midwives an enhanced salary package, it will help.
“In this area, the government needs not to waste time on it. Because, I am aware that no matter the situation in Nigeria, home is still the best, but then, what if the home is not conducive.
“Insecurity situation is still an issue; there is one that happened recently, about three nurses were kidnapped in the last one week, they are still being held hostage,” he said.
In his remarks, Morakinyo Olajide, the National Chairman, Federal Health Institutions Sector, a pressure group under NANNM, said that brain drain would continue, if nurses were still being treated in the manner that was not attractive.
According to him, nurses’ work is enormous, but the government has yet to appreciate that.
He said that nurses were now moving to the UK, U.S and other countries of the world where the profession is more appreciated.
“The leaders are not giving the nurses what is due to them and this has brought the frustration of going out.
“What could be done to overcome this trend is to appreciate the nurses and Midwives in Nigeria, give them what is due to them, if that is done, it will reduce the trend,” Olajide said.