By Chioma Obinna
Lagos nurses under the auspices of the National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives, NANNM, have expressed concerns over the working environment in which their members operate, decrying acute shortage of personal protective equipment, PPE, and non-availability of welfare packages for health care workers.
In a statement signed by the Chairman of the NANNM, Lagos Council, Mrs Israel Blessing, said most of the expected PPEs are not available for use hence nurses are being exposed to unnecessary risk.
He said presently, some of their nurses have tested positive to COVID-19 and have presented themselves at the isolation centre for management.
“These set of people will require immediate activation of their insurance policy. Also, about 25 Nurses are on self-quarantine after being exposed to cases of COVID-19. This is telling on the already strained manpower at various health facilities, making the work overwhelming for nurses.
It, therefore, becomes essentially necessary that the following areas of interest concerning the welfare of our members in the State be addressed, as a matter of urgency:-
She stressed the need for the improvement in provision and supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs), which include: surgical masks, N95 face masks, latex and elbow gloves, disposable gowns, concretized arrangements for insurance cover for nurses, and upward review of the present ridiculous hazard allowance for all health care workers.
“Nurses are made to suffer avoidable consequences arising from poor conditions of Service and lack of recognition. Nurses; who form the majority of the frontline Health care Professionals in the society are being subjected to hardship and diverse risks while performing their duties.
“Health care providers are working tirelessly; 24/7 like soldiers at the battlefield in genuine efforts to combat this novel disease.”
She said the consequences of not placing appropriate values on nurses according to their worth, have become so glaring and playing itself out in the current dispensation as the continuously witness a lot of nurses being neglected, ignored and not catered for; while they put in their best daily in diverse hospital settings.
We are pained to request as well as appeal for support from the management of health service delivery of the State for easy transportation, provision of consumables, supplies and feeding for our Nurses; since they now run 24-48 hours duty in different health care facilities.
Continuing, she said: “It is quite unfortunate and very disappointing to witness perpetual lip service vis-a-vis promises upon promises of robust packages for health workers in Nigeria, whereas little or nothing has been done till date. It is pertinent to note that all health workers are frontline and must be treated the same way volunteers are treated and remunerated.”
Israel said nurses must not be made sacrificial lambs.
Her words: “It is important to let you know that we need to be alive and in good health to be able to carry out our roles efficiently and effectively.
“We passionately appeal to the state government to extend the welfare packages to those of our members and other health care professionals, working in all other health care facilities across the state.”