It is another time of the year again to celebrate the season and thank the almighty God for our lives individually and collectively for his mercies and protection throughout the year 2016. I want to use this medium to appreciate God for his goodness and loving kindness over our lives and families especially through the prevalent harsh work conditions in Nigeria at large and particularly the health sector not favouring our members that is currently been compounded by the unwarranted economic crises and recession that providence has made our country to be going through right now.
I am optimistic and want to assure us that tough times don’t last but tough people do.
I want to specifically use this medium to felicitate particularly with our Christian colleagues at Christmas and wish them compliments of the season in this yuletide period. I am aware that the seasons of Christmas is one that is filled with so much joy and happiness and one that comes with strong and benevolent messages for all mankind. One of the strong messages that yuletide season brings with it is the love of God to all mankind which is exemplified by His bountiful and immeasurable mercies upon us and the gift and messages of Jesus Christ in establishing the dominion of God Almighty and magnification of the unquantifiable love of God almighty, The Supreme to man (mere mortal) and commissioning of divine rescue mission and redemption from eternal damnation.
In general it is instructive that being a Christian or Muslim is a matter of personal faith and conviction and must not be made to create irreconcilable differences among us. This time is the end of a calendar year and therefore in preparation for a new year, there is the need for a sober reflection on the favours and blessings of (Allah) God on us and see that, what the God has done for us collectively we cannot measure or tell it all.
I therefore want to use this medium to first appreciate the teeming number of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives for their hard work, perseverance, doggedness, unconditional and relentless efforts directed towards improving the nation’s healthcare system and secondly to urge us to continue doing our best in contributing to the health of Nigerians and the upliftment of our healthcare system.
Let me remind us all, that there is no other profession in which the message of this season is embedded than ours, the essence of our profession is caring borne out of love to fellow mankind. Hence, there is no better time to let this God endowed virtue be exemplified in our relationship with our clients, colleagues and other members of the public. We must show the world that the nursing profession is God’s own chosen profession through our acts of caring, sharing and love.
I also use this medium to call on all nurses and a midwife to continue doing our best to ensure unity amongst us as it is only when we are united that we can make considerable progress. The fundamental roles of the Nurses/Midwives surpass what any situation will push us to abdicate.
As generally published to my own personal delight our counterparts in the United State of America has once again been adjudged as the best profession with highest group with honesty, ethical standard and trustworthiness.
This is also a time to x-ray the year 2016 as it runs to an end because it is only when we review the past that we can gain insight into the future and adequately prepare, so as to get the best out of our endeavours. The year 2016 was one that was full of wonders and challenges, pains and gains, trials and tribulations in all ramifications. It was a year full of enormous challenges for all Nigerians especially the working class and the labour movement and in particular nurses and midwives. It was a year full of many occurrences that threaten the existence of the working class ranging from protracted inflation, hike in fuel prices, pipe line blasting and vandalism, economic recession, high rate of crime and armed robbery, rampant kidnappings, preponderance of civil unrest and high class insecurity manifesting in militancy and insurgency, with attending prejudicial, ritual, and wanton killings as witnessed by our brethren in the Niger Delta and North East respectively, threats to human existence and properties. Another aspect is the reduction in workers’ salary via all forms of devilish tactics by the paymasters turned slave masters as well as non-payment of certain allowances like teaching allowances to nurses/midwives on Consolidated Health Salary Structure level 07 and 08 and rural allowances in some states, delayed/unpaid salaries culminating into hardship on the general populace. It particularly delved a serious direct blow on nurses and midwives in terms of stagnation on one grade level, demotion and re- designation that are humiliating and demoralizing.
We cannot also but painfully remember our loved colleagues who have departed us to the great beyond during the year in review. We should however be grateful to God that in spite of all challenges, we still have life and reasons to remain thankful and continue in the struggle.
We cannot but also be appreciative to God for the successes He has enabled us to accomplished within the year under review. Most notably include the successes recorded at the National Council on Establishment resulting in the approval of the unified schemes of service, lateral conversion and internship for graduates of nursing sciences. These singular events re-invigorate the spirit of nursing professionalism as epitomized by the IAP Award of 1981, the bedrock of the actualization of nursing professional growth and development in Nigeria context. Once again, we need to remind ourselves of the need to work harmoniously towards achieving the implementation of these successes for the benefit of all Nigerian nurses.
Now as we are approaching the New Year 2017, I pray for God’s protection and guidance on each and every one of us. I pray that none of us will die untimely before our time, that we shall not be victims of kidnappers and other evil doers and will be insulated from the sacrilegious sacrificing of committed nurses and midwives due to weaknesses in our health sector.
Among these are those nurses who are killed due to attack by armed bandits and or cases of rapping, kidnapping, bomb blast in the area of insurgency, exposure to diseases like Lassa fever; Ebola; tuberculosis; psychosomatic ailments; stress and burnout; and hepatitis while on duty due to inadequacies within the health care system.
Cases of sliped disc, cervical spondylitis cases are now very rampant. I urge us to remain united, focused and steadfast and committed to our callings of humanitarian services. Challenges are created for humans and are expected to be engaged and or confronted with required dexterity, dedication and motive of combating the challenging situation.
The nursing profession is faced with so many challenges which are enormous but not insurmountable and meant for us to be addressed with ethical considerations and with hope and commitment to successfully overcome them, all of us have roles to play at our various levels. We at the leadership level do not lay claims to be an island of knowledge and as such don’t see ourselves as knowing it all. We do not belief we are the best but by providence we have been charged with the responsibilities of leadership we belief in involving other stakeholders in making nursing profession great and nurses proud of belonging to a noble profession. Hence, we call on all and sundry to take advantage of our open door policy at inception that has graduated to “no door” policy to approach the leadership with tolerance to advice and criticisms.
Professional colleagues, have my best assurance that we shall continue to welcome constructive criticisms while not letting destructive criticisms derail, deterred, nor delayed us from our focus of achieving the best for the nursing profession. I am not unaware of the various discussions trending on the social media and wish to state clearly that apart from the various organs of the association ranging from NAC, NEC, SAC, SEC, specialist and pressure groups statutory meetings, I belong to so many groups on social media while quite a number of them attempt to involve me in the administration of such groups. I sincerely appreciate the gesture but it is a strong virtue for a man to understand his ability as it is one of the parameters for assessing good mental health. It is realistically impossible for me to play active roles on every forum though I will continue trying my best to get inspiration and insights from these groups as I have always done through my passive participation.
I want to assure our members that their yearnings and aspirations will never be in vain. Even though both eyes may not see one another, they see things in common. It is imperative to note that at times, our silence may be deliberate neither in order not to truncate our plans nor to predicate pandemonium in the various diverse groups and sectors that nurses are. We are reassuring the genuinely concerned Nigeria nurses and midwives that we shall not join any issue with noise makers that reduces professional struggle to the faces of social media reducing every action to lamentation and function as mere analyst or commentators. Spectators are always the best team of football players, leaders cannot afford to be lamenters or commentators like football spectators.
To the teeming number of our vibrant, dynamic and energetic youths, I want to assure you all that you occupy a very special position in our agenda of breeding and propelling quality leadership; bringing youths to the table and reaching successes together. It is our plan to involve our young nurses in all our activities and mentor them to aspire to be trade unionists and professional activist of repute because it is only this way that we can ensure that we bequeath the healthy legacies to the next generation of leaders in NANNM. Let me however be quick to reiterate that the activities of the Association are not solely on the pages of the newspapers and social media.
It is my candid advice that our young ones expend more of their energies to rebuilding various units and state organs of NANNM with uptake of interest in the leadership instead of casting aspersions and derogatory statements on the Association on the walls of social media. We need to understand that it is at these unit and state branches that majority of the decisions that affect our association and our lives as nurses are made and therefore contribute our quota to develop NANNM to the Association of our dreams. Many at times our actions are based on misinformation, misconception and lack of adequate knowledge or technicalities involved, professional colleagues we need corporation, information and sound intellects to power and drive our mentalities to brightening the corners where we may found ourselves. Please let all of us be committed to illuminate the systems but depart from merely heating the system. We can start somewhere, anywhere as true leaders do not require titles to exhibit their true leadership potentials.
In this coming year, nurses must become stronger and more influential, more nurses must become leaders in hospitals, nonprofit organizations and government agencies however this may not happen unless we work together to improve the image of nurses and nursing. This is the time to move to the next level of meaningful involvement and resourceful partakers in Nigeria politics starting from our localities. We silence our profession when we fail to identify ourselves as nurses especially when we dissociate ourselves, and stray away from where we can take part in performing laudable deeds. Nurses should ensure that nursing get credit for the good work and expertise nurses provide to the public, nurses should also ensure that the blame of bad deeds by impostors is not heaped on nursing, we must also ensure that elements that give nurses and nursing the bad image are exposed and let the world understand that they are not professional nurses.
To this end we must all join hands to intensify our fight against quackery in the nursing profession. Our collective efforts should also be directed towards making the profession a better and greater one.
I must once again appreciate entire Nigeria nurses and midwives for giving me and my team another chance to lead the only registered and recognized professional association for nurses and midwives in the most populous black nation. We shall not disappoint you. I wish us all greater exploits in the year ahead and more importantly greater victories in the struggle to liberate the nursing profession and place her in her rightful position of leadership.
Yours in the struggle to reposition the nursing profession;
Comrade Nurse Abdrafiu Alani Adeniji
President, National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM)
Chairperson, West Africa Health Sector Union Network (WAHSUN).
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