The National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNW), yesterday, urged the President-elect, retired Maj.-Gen. Muhamadu Buhari, to arrest the shortage of nurses in hospitals and health centres. Mrs. Olushola Olatunde, the Chairman, Lagos State Council of NANNW, told journalists in Lagos that employment of more nurses and midwives would enhance health service delivery across the country. According to her, not less than 200 nurses will be retiring from the general hospitals alone in Lagos in this year, aside from those that will be retiring in other parts of country.
And, not less than 600 young nurses should be employed to replace them following the standard practice, she said. Olatunde said that in the past, when an experienced nurse that had attained the peak of his or her career retired , government would employ three or four nurses whose salaries would be commensurate with that of the retiring nurse as replacement . “But, now when a nurse who had completed her tour of duty retires, the government will just employ any young and inexperienced nurse. “Of course, there is no how the inexperienced nurse can fill that gap created by the retired nurse effectively and in terms of cognate experience.’’
Olatunde said that hospitals and health centres were increasing without commensurate nurses and midwives to offer the needed services to the people there. “Our profession happens to be unique in the sense that we form the largest part of the health care delivery. “Unfortunately, we render selfless services and we are hardly appreciated, but we cannot give what we don’t have. “We believe that government should continue to employ nurses and midwives because shortage of staff is affecting the health care delivery,’’ she said.
According to her, if government continues to establish health centres without it employing the required number of nurses to manage them, this will not guarantee improvement in the health sector. She urged employers of nurses and midwives to always provide the right environment for their employees to be able to do the job they were employed for. (NAN)