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Anambra nurses seek govt’s support

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NURSES in Anambra State have attributed mass migration of highly qualified nurses to either federal health institutions or outside the country to poor remuneration which is adversely affecting the healthcare sector as the few number of nurses available are overwhelmed by work in the health facilities.

  Speaking to newsmen in her Awka office, on this year’s Nurses Week, with the theme: Rooted in Strength, Chairman, National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), Anambra State Council, Onwuka Edith said if government continues to put off investing in health workforce, it will be to the detriment to health system everywhere as “there is no health without a functional, competent health workforce. Moreover, the system must guarantee and promote nurses’ right to safe working environment, decent wages and full participation in decision making in the health industry.”

  Comrade Edith highlighted some of the challenges being faced by the council and called on Governor Chukwuma Soludo to tackle them as they are expedient to the job they do.

  “Implementation of the new hazard allowance of N32,000 per nurse which was recently reviewed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  “It is important to review the consolidated health salary structure (CONHESS) which has not been properly implemented in the state; the said CONHESS 60% is on paper but not properly and fully reflected in the implementation. We humbly request for not only the full implementation of the 60% CONHESS, but upward review to 100% CONHESS for nurses in the state and local government primary healthcare centres.

  “Shortage of nurses and midwives in both general hospitals and primary healthcare centers; this gross shortage affects healthcare delivery with attendant negative consequences.”

  She stated further that at the heat of the COVID-19 pandemic, the invaluable contributions of nurses took center stage and exposed the weaknesses of healthcare delivery systems caused by underinvestment in healthcare workforce around the world, adding that nurses went through a lot in the course of stemming the tide of the pandemic; as they were unnecessarily exposed to the virulence of the highly infectious and lethal virus also faced by the public; suffered extreme workload, and continues to be underpaid and undervalued especially in Nigeria.

  She commended the governor and his deputy, Dr. Onyeka Ibezim for the cleanup exercise ongoing at Okpoko, saying the exercise will reduce the spread of communicable diseases.

  “Nurses and midwives being promoters of health shows appreciation with your move in cleaning Okpoko which had always been the epicenter for disease outbreak due to environmental insults and degradation. We have also seen your commitment in cleaning up the rest of the cities which we commend in a special way as it will reduce disease outbreak like cholera, diarrhea, measles etc.”

  Nurses Week is celebrated across the globe between 5 – 12 May every year to acknowledge the contribution of nurses and call attention to their working condition, and also in honour of Florence Nightingale credited to be the founder of modern nursing.

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