The National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) has charged the federal and state governments with increasing investment in nursing and midwifery, claiming that the profession is the health sector’s backbone.
Nnachi Michael, the national president of NANNM, expressed this at an event in Abuja to commemorate International Nurses’ Day, saying that nurses should be recognized and fairly compensated for the work they do.
“Nurses are front-line health workers who are subject to all types of risk,” he said. During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2022, about 5000 nurses and midwives died.
“It is obvious that theNigerian nurses are working in appalling conditions and have suffered greatly during the pandemic, with setbacks due to delayed proper grading, attacks, victimization, understaffing leading to workload, underpaid and undervalued with an unpredictable political environment, insecurity here and there, and thousands of people leaving the country for greener pastures in the area of value-oriented expectations.”
He emphasized the need of having a skilled and motivated workforce that is always accessible to give healthcare to the nation.
Speaking on reduced workforce, Michael identified mass migration for desirable compensation, lack of decent environment, lack of ability to meet the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended patient nurse ratio as part of the factors.
International Nurses’ Day is celebrated annually on 12 May in memory of the birth of the founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale. It is also an occasion to honour nurses as an invaluable resource, and raise awareness of the challenges they face.
Over 7,256 Nigerian nurses migrated to the UK in the last one year —Nursing Council
While Nigeria has continued to lose its trained health workers especially doctors to the UK, USA, Saudi Arabia, Dubai and even South Africa, nurses trained by the country have now become the hottest professionals who have decided to relocate to other countries.
This was confirmed in a report on Thursday by the Nursing and Midwifery Council of the United Kingdom (NMC) which revealed that as many as 7,256 Nigerian nurses migrated to the UK in the last one year between March 2021 and March 2022.
According to the NMC data, between March 2017 and March 2018, around 2,796 Nigerian nurses migrated to the UK, while 3,021 Nigerian trained nurses relocated to the UK between March 2018 and March 2019.
Between March 2019 and March 2020, a total of 3,684 Nigerian nurses migrated to the UK while in 2020, around 4,310 Nigerian nurses moved to the UK between March 2020 and March 2021 despite the raging COVID-19 pandemic at the time.
The data also revealed that of all foreign trained nurses who were registered in the UK, Nigeria sits in third place with the highest number of migrant nurses behind the Philippines and India.
“Between 2021 and 2022, there was a significant increase in the number of people who trained in India, the Philippines and Nigeria joining the permanent register for the first time.”
The cases of Nigerian trained medical personnel migrating from the country is not helped by the way the Federal Government treat their cases with disdain and complete neglect.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige has also not helped matters with his comments on Nigerian doctors who have been engaged in one strike action or the other over their remuneration and allowances.
In a recent interview on national television, Ngige had said the issue of brain drain and migration of medical doctors out of the country was not a totally a bad situation as the doctors would come back to the country in the future better equipped with knowledge to make the desired impact in the country.
“This is not a phenomenon that is new in Nigeria. By 1982 and 1984, our doctors were moving to Saudi Arabia and United Kingdom. It was not a new thing. By 1990, they were moving to the United States. These countries need our doctors because they are well trained.
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“What I am saying is that it is not all that bad in such a situation. Those doctors and consultants will come back with better knowledge while some came back with equipment. What am saying is that all hope is not lost,” the Minister said.
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