By Chioma Obinna & Chinelo Azike
The National President Association of General Private Nurses Practitioners, AGPNP, Balogun Ajiboye has traced Nigeria’s poor health indices to underutilisation of nurses and midwives despite the World Health Organisation’s recognition of midwives as skilled labour.
Ajiboye said certain State governments preferred what he described as charlatans and ad-hoc technicians to do the work of nurses rather than engaging professionals.
Speaking during the Association’s 9th Annual National Scientific Conference with the theme: “Strengthening qualitative Primary Healthcare Through Private Nursing Practice in Nigeria”, Ajiboye further alleged that negative laws and policies, particularly in the states are affecting their practice.
Quoting sections of the Constitution, he said: “As of today, we do not know the status of health in Nigeria whether it is business, national health says you attend all medical emergency but forgot to mention who will pay in case the patient does not have the money, who bears the brunt?
He identified lack of enabling environment; interprofessional crises and quackery as drivers of high mortality in healthcare.
“I appeal to government at all levels to take healthcare as fundamental human right and stop politicising it.
“Nurses and Midwives should practice in accordance with Act Cap N143, Laws of Nigeria 24 at all levels. Some of our members’ facilities are in the rural areas, we appeal to NHIS and health to develop insurance interest in our facilitie and inspect and accredit them promptly.
While appealing to other health professionals to work as a team, he said expansion of nursing scope has become imperative as the health sector is witnessing acute shortage of workers in almost every profession that has led to quackery and charlatans taking over the system thereby resulting to increasing poor health indices.
In his remarks, the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire urged the nurses to guide against capitalist tendencies as government has emphasised quality assurance of services, adding that health is a right and not social contract.
Represented by the Chairman, Medical Advisory Committee, CMAC, LUTH, he urged them key into the nurse internship programme by offering the graduate nurses a place for internships to reduce the backlog.
‘I want to urge you to restrict your practice within the tenets of your profession and make sure you only engage qualified professionals.”