The Nigerian Nurses in North America once again had the opportunity to gather together to deliberate on the challenges impacting the healthcare systems in North America and Nigeria, presented projects and initiatives generated from 2011 conference and poster exhibition session on research conducted. The event built on the success of 2011 conference and added several significant new features, as well as expanding the number of participants and sessions organized. To focus on viable strategies to meet the demand of the complex healthcare environment, this year’s conference was in collaboration with Rutgers University College of Nursing, Center for Professional Development. Again, the conference was designed to bring new ideas, challenge perspectives, and facilitate the growth of the conference participants by providing new ways to be a catalyst for change in the healthcare systems at the local, national and global level!
The convention/scientific conference attracted over 350 Nigerians and non-Nigerians across the globe with more than three hundred Nurses in attendance and dignitaries from Nigeria and North America. The Director of Nursing Services at the Federal Ministry of Health, Mrs. Mojisola Olanike Okodugha, represented the Minister of Health of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Also in attendance were the Consulate General of Nigeria in New York, Honorable Habib Baba Habu, Dr. William Holzmer, the Dean of nursing at Rutgers University College of Nursing, Dr. Minerva Guttman, the Dean of nursing at Fairleigh Dickinson University School of Nursing, and Dr. Rosaline Olade, a Retired Nigerian Nurse who developed and implemented the MSN and PhD in Nursing at the University of Ibadan, just to name a few.
Bringing together leading health experts and practitioners from North America and beyond, the conference started with a live radio program on the Future Women Want: The Role of Nurses in the Prevention of Violence Against Women and Girls. The program was hosted by Dr. Ada Okika of the African Views, a Framework for African Intelligence on Global Affairs. The pre-conference education event proved an excellent opportunity for networking and sharing experiences in meeting the challenges of healthcare through application of Health Information Technology and Effective Strategic Policies for women's health in cultural diversities.
There were three panel discussions, four special sessions and five plenary sessions during which experts gave 24 presentations.
The special sessions were dedicated to:
· Identifying strategies for transforming medical mission into a platform for improving health care delivery in Nigeria,
· Identifying strategies for implementing NANNNA memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Nigeria National University commission and the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH),
· Building partnerships for advancing nursing education in Nigeria and capacity development for nurses in practice
· Building a support system for Nigerian Nurses Doctoral Candidates and
· A focus group on Domestic Violence in the Nigerian Community
The four days convention/scientific conference ended with a special high light on the Doctoral Candidates Network inaugural meeting and the formal induction ceremony of the New Jersey chapter of NANNNA.
Conference participants made the following observations:
1. The health care system in North America continues to undergo constant changes as it responds to increasing costs, changing demographics, new technology, and pharmaceutical advancements
2. The health care system in Nigeria is in urgent need of major improvements in policy, infrastructure, delivery systems, education and training.
3. Maternal and Infant mortality rates in Nigeria are way beyond the global averages.
4. Domestic Violence in some Nigerian communities in North America is on the rise.
To meet the challenges of the complex healthcare environment, the following recommendations were made:
1. Improvement of health care delivery is the responsibility of all health care professionals and Policy makers.
2. Nigerian leaders need to demonstrate their support and vested interest in the Nigerian Healthcare system by using the system rather than travel abroad for their personal healthcare needs.
3. All Nigerians have access to high-quality, patient-centered care in a health care system where nurses contribute as essential partners in achieving success
4. Empowerment of Nigerian nurses through education and research for evidence based practice should be a priority
5. Nigerian federal and state governments to provide basic infrastructure and conducive environment for nursing education and practice in Nigeria
6. A collaboration between Nigerian Nurses in North America and various Schools of Nursing in educational and technical assistance for capacity building through teaching at schools/departments of nursing in Nigeria to alleviate shortage of Nurse Faculties
7. Collaboration between NANNNA and the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria to maintain licensure renewal of Registered Nigerian Nurses and Midwives living in North America
8. Develop strategies for Implementing Measurable Interventions for improving healthcare system in Nigeria
9. Form partnerships with UN, CDC Nigeria USAID, CEDA and other international agencies working with Govt. of Nigeria (for enhanced participation by NANNNA in policy making processes and technical assistance).
10. Create a Database & Network of Nigerian nurses & faculty living in North America
11. Conduct more research to explore the extent of domestic violence in the Nigerian community and culturally sensitive ways to prevent it, protect victims, and assist families and perpetrators gain access to timely psychosocial support to address issues.
12. During Medical Mission to Nigeria, Health Professionals must renew their Nigerian medical/nursing license before providing care in Nigeria
The well-attended conference was a very significant step towards effectively tackling the challenges impacting today’s healthcare systems and identifying strategies for Implementing NANNNA memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Nigeria National University commission (NUC) and the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH).
We look forward to this endeavour.
Dr. Grace Ogiehor-Enoma
DHA, MSN, MPH, NE-BC, RN,
The National Association of Nigerian
Nurses in North America (NANNNA)
Tel: (516) 528-1644
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