By Luminous Jannamike
ABUJA – National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives, NANNM, has called on the government to recruit more caregivers in public hospitals to reduce the country’s 6.7 per cent infant mortality rate.
It said the current ratio of one midwife to 25 nursing mothers in government-owned hospitals across the federation reflects gross inadequacy of care-giving personnel in these facilities, and demands urgent steps to address the manpower gap.
Speaking on Monday at a medical outreach programme in Abuja which was organised to commemorate the 2019 International Nurses’ Week, NANNM National Vice President, Mrs Mercy Azonwu said: “We are pleading with the federal government to retool the current employment policy as far as nurses and midwives are concerned.
“If you check the hospitals in Nigeria today, the midwives are not many. A lot of midwives are retired and are no longer in the system.
“How can there be a decrease in Nigeria’s maternal and infant mortality rates when the hospitals are short of midwives? The government is not employing personnel to fill the existing gaps, and there are also inadequate facilities for the overworked few to deploy in discharging their duties maximally. When these essentials are not in place, it will impact on the morbidity and mortality rate of women during childbirth.”
Similarly, Chairperson of NANNM (FCT Chapter), Comr. Deborah Yusuf, said it is ironic that while Nigeria boasts of a huge supply of trained nurses and midwives, a majority of them are unemployed and unable to contribute in the provision of care to those in need at the hospitals.
She, however, explained that the health outreach was not only to highlight the manpower gaps in public hospitals but also to provide medical care to those in need, especially the underprivileged.
The medical outreach featured the administration of various tests on pregnant women in Dutse-Alhaji community of Abuja and the dispensing of free drugs to beneficiaries as well as the referral of complicated cases to relevant hospitals for further treatments.