The National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) has lamented the flight of nurses and midwives from public health facilities in Anambra to greener pastures.
Addressing a news conference to mark the closing of the 2022 International Nurses Week on Thursday in Awka, the Chairman of NANNM in Anambra, Mrs Edith Onwuka, said that the situation had become alarming.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the weeklong celebration of the 2022 International Nurses Week from May 6 to May 10 is to acknowledge the contributions of nurses.
The event is also to call attention to their working conditions, create awareness for governments to invest in health workforce, especially nursing.
The theme for this year is “Nurses: A Voice to Lead – Invest in Nursing and respect rights to secure global health’’.
Onwuka said that the migration was adversely affecting healthcare delivery in the state.
She identified poor remuneration of nurses and midwives in the state as a major factor for the flight of medical personnel to federal government health facilities and climes.
“Nurses have suffered tremendously; they have been unnecessarily exposed to highly infectious and lethal virus; suffered extreme workload, and continue to be underpaid and undervalued, especially in Nigeria.
“In Anambra, we are experiencing mass migration of qualified nurses and midwives to either federal health institutions or outside the country in search of greener pastures, due to poor remuneration.
“This has led to shortage of nurses and midwives in both general hospitals and primary health care centers. This gross shortage affects the health care delivery with attendant negative consequences.
“The small number of nurses that are remaining are overwhelmed by work in our hospitals, ” she said.
Onwuka said there was the need for a system that would guarantee and promote nurses’ right to safe working environment, decent wages and full participation in decision making in the health sector.
She called for the review of the Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS), which according to her had not been properly implemented in Anambra.
The CONHESS 60 per cent, Onwuka said, was on paper, but not properly and fully reflected in the implementation.
She appealed to Gov. Chukwuma Soludo of Anambra to invest in the healthcare sector to ensure quality health care delivery in Anambra to make the creation of liveable homeland for the state a reality.
“We wish to appeal to Gov. Soludo to look into the issues affecting nurses especially now that he is taking stock of challenges in different state ministries, departments and agencies.
“We humbly request for not only the full implementation of 60 per cent CONHESS but upward review to 100 per cent CONHESS for nurses in the state and local government primary healthcare centres.
“We also call for the implementation of new hazard allowance of N32, 000 per nurse, which was recently reviewed as result of COVID-19 pandemic,” Onwuka said.