The National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), yesterday (Wednesday 10th May, 2017) paid a courtesy visit to the leadership of the Senate. The team was led by the national president of the association, Comrade (Nurse) Adbrafiu Alani Adeniji and consist of the general secretary Com. T. A Shettima, Deputy President Com Musa Mamman, and other members of the National Administrative Council. They were also joined by the Secretary General/Registrar of the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria Alhaji Farouk Umar Abubakar and the wife of the senate president, her excellency Mrs. Toyin Saraki who facilitated the visit and is also a global goodwill ambassador of the International Confederation of Midwives. The team was received at the red chamber by the senate president, His excellency, Dr. Bukola Saraki, who was joined by the senate leader, Senator Ahmed Lawan, deputy senate leader, minority leader, chairman senate committee on health and his vice and many other distinguished senators of the federal republic of Nigeria.
Mrs. Toyin Saraki while introducing the NANNM team to the senate felicitated with nurses in Nigeria on the occasion of the 2017 international nurses’ week celebration and affirmed that quality health care services can only be achieved when the voices of nurses and midwives are heard. She also used the opportunity to appeal to policy makers to invest in nurses and midwives. The deputy country representative of United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) gave grim statistics about the state of maternal mortality rate in the country to include that Nigeria makes up 2% of the world population but has 12% of the world’s maternal mortality rate with 116 women dying every day from pregnancy related causes and childbirth with all these linked to poverty and advised that the solution to combating poverty is by demographic dividends which he interpreted to mean that the working class should be more than the dependents. He further pointed out that many schools of midwifery in the country have no laws backing their establishment.
The NANNM president in his speech conveyed good tidings from all nurses all over the federation and was quick to recognize the contributions of the senate president to the health sector of the nation from his days as the executive governor of Kwara state. He then used the medium to bring to the notice of the senate president and his team some issues of concern to Nigerian nurses and midwives urging the senate president, the senate as an institution and the entire national assembly to use its constitutional and political powers to address them. The issues raised include;
• Lack of infrastructure and working tools or facilities.
• Incursion into the duties of nurses and midwives by other health professionals.
• Leadership tussle within the health facilities.
• Inclusion of nurses and midwives in the composition of boards of federal health institutions.
• Addressing the lopsidedness in the existing structure of the federal ministry of health.
• Nonpayment of skipping allowance and teaching allowance for nurses on CONHESS 7 and 8.
• Gazetting of the Unified Scheme of Service.
• Task sharing and task shifting.
• Motivation and training of nursing and midwifery personnel.
• Non implementation of various judgements of the NIC.
• Support of the federal government on recent education reforms in nursing.
The chairman, NANNM Midwives association, Mrs. Margaret Akinsola also used the medium to call on the federal government for the re-introduction of automatic employment for midwives to address the chronic shortage of manpower, and subsequently reduce the increasing maternal mortality rate.
In his response, the senate president welcomed the NANNM leadership to the senate and congratulated nurses on the 2017 international nurses’ week celebration. He also commended the efforts and contributions of Nigerian nurses and midwives to the health sector despite the numerous challenges. He assured that the senate will work with the leadership of NANNM to address the challenges. He concluded by saying that the working conditions of our nurses and midwives needs to be taken seriously as Nigeria has the 2nd-worst maternal mortality rate in the world and assured that the senate will work towards changing this through legislation.
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