The Inspire Nurses Network and Nurses in Diaspora on Thursday in Abuja said nurses were “spinal cord’’ of health system in every society.
Leader of the group, Mr Okesola Josiah, stated this when his team and Regina Askia-Williams Nurse in Diaspora visited the Managing Director, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Mr Bayo Onanuga.
In reference to popular saying that “House without a foundation is as good as healthcare system without nurses’’, Josiah emphasised that healthcare system without nurses was meaningless.
According to him, nurses are always with patients 24 hours while other healthcare providers will visit within four to 10 minutes and leave.
“If you set up a healthcare system without nurses, you will find out that nobody is doing anything because nurses are always with patients 24 hours while the doctors come five, 10 minutes to see the patients and leave.
“Laboratory scientist, another professional collects samples and go, pharmacist comes and dispenses drugs and leaves, physiotherapist comes in for session and goes; they are all members of healthcare but nurses are always there attending to patients.
“The patients cannot survive without the nurses, so anybody that needs information about patients will come to the nurses who have all the details of the patients,’’ he said.
Josiah, who decried the poor state of Nigeria’s health sector, attributed it to the rate of medical tourism undertaken by Nigerians outside the country.
He described the situation as unhealthy “for the image of the giant of Africa’’.
“We have decided to step out of our zones to improve the lives of Nigerians, and more importantly, to see what we can do to reduce the prevalence of medical tourism,’’ he said.
In her contribution, Mrs Regina Askia-Williams, a New York-based Liver and Kidney Transplant Nurse, said she was in the country to partner Nigerian nurses and share experiences in primary healthcare, HIV prevention and control, among others.
The Family Nurse practitioner and former Miss Nigeria said that the focus of her project in the country included reproductive health.
She said that the project would run for one year, adding that it would boost the skills of nurses as well as the populace on health promotion.
According to her, this will make positive impact on the populace as they will be enlighten on measures to guide against health challenges.
Askia-Williams explained that the role of nurses was not limited to caring for the sick, but included roles that were pivotal – health promotion, prevention of illnesses and advocacy.
“This is an opportunity for nurses in the diaspora to partner and encourage Nigerian nurses and share necessary skills, experiences on primary healthcare, HIV prevention and control among others relevant to the Nigerian populace.’’
Receiving the delegation, Onanuga commended Askia-Williams for bringing her wealth of experience in diaspora to bear in Nigeria’s health system.
Onanuga, who was represented by the Director, Finance and Accounts, Mrs Adijat Lawal, noted that her effort “shows that we have Nigerians in diaspora that have the interest and wellbeing of Nigerian populace at heart’’.
He assured her of the agency’s support of adequate reportage of her activities, which were geared toward the betterment of the nation’s health system.
According to him, health is wealth and no matter your wealth, if you are not healthy your money will be meaningless.