By Oreoluwa Shomuyiwa
The National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) has lamented the shortage of nurses and midwives in the country and summoned governments at all levels to employ more in the hospitals to improve healthcare services and reduce mortality rates.
The nurses spoke at the International Day of Nurses and Midwives in Abuja, where they organized an outreach and a symposium to mark the day.
The third Vice President of NANNM, Deborah Yusuf, said to reporters that the shortage of nurses and midwives is responsible for the high mortality rates.
“Of course, we are having high mortality rate in the country because most of the midwives and nurses have retired. So, we do not have enough of them in the hospitals to attend to pregnant women in labour.
“How can there be low mortality rate in the country when there are no midwives? When you check the hospitals around today, there are no enough midwives and nurses to ensure safe delivery of babies and mothers in the hospitals, thereby reducing mortality rate in the country. There is no employment, there are no equipment in the hospitals that will make them perform maximally where they belong. So, definitely, the pressure will fall back on mortality rate, causing it to escalate.
“That is why we are calling on the governments at all levels to employ more midwives and nurses in the hospitals and equip them (the hospitals) adequately so that we will work and bring down the rate because it is not good for children or women to die while giving births as a result of little things that could have been avoided, treated or prevented. We are also calling for the formulation of good policies for the nurses and midwives as well as the health sector generally,” she said.
Meanwhile, NANNM Acting National President, Musa Mamman, and Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC),Comrade Ayuba Wabba, kicked against the policy of ‘no work, no pay’ of the government, threatening to embark on industrial action, if their members were not paid their two-month salary arrears.
According to them, two months salaries of health workers, especially nurses and midwives, are still being owed owing to a strike embarked upon by the NLC to press the Federal Government to implement agreements earlier reached with workers.
Waba said nursing remains the backbone of any health sector. He urged nurses to imbibe the spirit of team work.
“It is illegal for anybody to hide under any guise and deny workers their rights and salaries. ‘No work, no pay’ policy cannot be applied when government has failed in keeping with collective agreements. Gone are the days when politicians, who have woefully failed, continued to deny us our rights,” Wabba said.
He tasked the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, to right the wrongs before leaving office and urged the workers to be more concerned about delivering healthcare than fighting among themselves.