The Nigeria Labor Congress (NLC) has urged the Federal Government (FG) to prioritize the welfare of nurses and midwives in the country to improve their job performance.
The President of the NLC, Comrade Ayuba Waba said so in her address at the International Nurses/Midwives Week and Scientific Session 2022, organized by the National Association of Nurses and Midwives of Nigeria (NANNM) on the theme: “Nurses, a voice to lead: investing in nurses and respecting rights to ensure a global future.
Wabba said nurses and midwives are entitled to living wages and hazard pay commensurate with the service they render and the job demanded the hazard pay circular be issued.
“You will also know how to assert your rights. Workers are not slaves. They are citizens. They have rights that must be respected, which is why we have provisions in our labor laws to protect our citizens”.
Wabba commended NANNM for organizing an elaborate conference to commemorate this year’s Nurses and Midwives Week despite the daunting challenges affecting workers and citizens in the country.
“You are organizing this conference in the mist of various challenges, in particular that of the economy which is eating away at us. I will continue to congratulate you that nursing is a very noble profession”.
He said he is optimistic that with the caliber of resource people invited to the conference, nurses will return better to their various states.
The Chairman of the House Health Committee, the Hon. Tanko Sununu in his goodwill message pointed out that when it comes to this diet, this diet is to be commended because as the chairman of the house committee on health, he knows that this government has tried.
Sununu revealed that a 100% budget provision for health is followed by a 100% budget release and that is something to be celebrated.
“I strongly believe that nurses and other health workers in the country have made a lot of sacrifices and are currently doing so.”
“The hazard pay we are talking about has been made clear by our president that this is not acceptable. N5000 as a hazard is not acceptable”.
“The House has championed the review of this allowance and we have agreed with the executive to liaise with the union so that we can have an acceptable allowance.”
“For hazards, it requires a two-way approach – government and individual involvement. The government cannot provide you with protective devices, you can use your personal money to buy it to protect yourself”.
“It is the same risk allocation that you will use to do this. So the argument of the risk premium revision is relevant and we must take care of it”.
We are in a situation where the country is in poverty, disease and insecurity. We kindly ask you to make more sacrifices. Most of you have the option and ability to leave the country to practice, but you have decided to stay on your own, please couple this decision with the ability to improve service delivery”.
“I was so happy when I saw through your program where you are going to discuss improving the nurse-patient relationship. This is the most vital aspect that every health worker needs to be sure that the health worker-patient relationship is improved.”
“At present, in the evaluation of the delivery of quality healthcare, patient satisfaction is an important key point. I must assure you that where the environment is hostile, patients cannot be satisfied with the care they receive”.
“The government must therefore make efforts to ensure that the well-being of health workers is taken care of so that we can have an enabling environment for the practice.”
NANNM Chairman, Comrade Michael Nnachi in his welcome speech called on the government to recruit more nurses to improve the available manpower and improve the conditions of service of nurses and midwives in Nigeria .
Nnachi further appreciated the government and the National Settlement Board and especially the Office of the Chief of Service for giving their endorsement for the proper classification of nurses in Nigeria.
“The appropriate ranking was achieved at the 43rd RCE held this year. It is important to clarify that so far, we are still waiting for the enabling circular for the implementation to start. This will also help ease the feelings of the nurses. If the circular is published, it will be a joy”.
“There is an urgent need to improve the welfare program for nurses in the country. Everyone leaving Nigeria is for greener pastures, the recognition and value attached to nurses and midwives.”
“If the government can do that, it will also give us a sigh of relief and we will be happy. Nurses, by the nature of our profession, are committed and dedicated to the work, we have the compassion and empathy to care for people”.
“As we call on the government to invest in nursing, we talk about universal health coverage and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we cannot achieve this without nurses and midwives. We talk about health care access and affordability.” He said.