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MUST READ: NANNM President Abdurafiu Adeniji Takes a Stand on EVERY Priority Nursing Issue (1)
Date Posted: 07/Dec/2013
TEXT OF THE INTERVIEW OF THE NATIONAL PRESIDENT OF THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF THE NIGERIAN NURSES AND MIDWIVES, COMRADE {ALHAJI} ABDRAFIU ALANI ADENIJI {3As} ON 10TH NOVEMBER, 2013 BY MEMBERS OF THE NIGERIAN NURSES RENAISSANCE MOVEMENT {NNRM}.
 
NNRM: Sir, November 24th marked a year you were saddled with the responsibility of leading Nigerian nurses, how has the journey been so far?
3As: I want to thank God for giving me the opportunity to serve Nigerian nurses, it has been a very encouraging assignment more so that it is not the 1st assignment I will have in NANNM but per chance for now the highest. The journey has been so interesting, so enterprising and so challenging but we thank God for everything. Because we still remain focussed, we remain committed and dedicated to the course of National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives. We have come into office, we have been able to grab the trend of affairs and by the grace of God we hope to use this opportunity to take Nigerian nurses to the next level.
 
NNRM: Recently, Nurses joined other health workers to embark on industrial action to press home some demands, has this struggle yielded any results?
3As: Well, like it is always been said, struggle continues, the other health workers that we joined to embark on industrial action whereby Nigerian nurses and midwives are key figure is JOHESU which is the coming together of health professionals in their own right which include Nigerian nurses and midwives, laboratory scientists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and administrators in the health sector. We embarked on the strike because of the maladministration of health care industry, it has been our demand that the health care industry be looked into critically as a multidisciplinary industry whereby team approach as it is obtainable all over the world are made to have its due course but in Nigeria today, the health care industry has been bastardized and the health care industry as I use to say is in bondage. Bondage of one single health professional which is the medical and dental practitioner, because of this other health workers could not fold their arms in a multidisciplinary approach and allow a single health professional to hold us into ransom. This is why we have to lend our voice and make the Nigerian populace know that the health industry is not like the ministry of justice whereby my lord justice is the only person who is the professional there. It is like the industry of the ministry of works where we have architects, surveyors they come together to play their part and there is no way a civil engineer will say a surveyor is nobody in the works department. However, in the health care industry today, we have a problem where headship has been believed to be the birthright of medical and dental practitioners as against global practice. And that is why we are having the current problem in Nigeria where our health indices is nose diving. About 1980, the age expectancy was higher than what have today despite the big input and investment into the health care industry and this is so because the health care industry is not allowed to run the way it is been run in other developed countries of the world. Whereas it is the prerogative of the head of state of the country to appoint ministers, it is not stated that in any industry like the health industry, the minister should only be medical and dental practitioners. In other places like in U.S, where we cannot compare Nigeria’s health care system with, the ministers/the persons in charge of the health industry are not just limited to one group of professionals. In the U.K, the department of health is currently being led by the cabinet minister the Rt. Hon Jeremy Hunt a graduate of Philosophy, Politics and Economics. The secretary of state for health and human services in the US is Kathleen Sebelius who holds a Master of public administration and a Bachelors of Arts degree. Also the minister of health for China is Norihisa TAMURA a graduate of Law and Economics. These are people who are not physicians but are heading the health industry and in all intents and purpose are performing excellently well. In India as well the minister of health Ghulam Nabi Azad is not a medical doctor but a graduate of Zoology and these are countries where Nigerians go to access health care. Even in Africa here, Botswana is a country that has been rated by the world health organisation as having the best national health care services, the minister as we are talking in Botswana is an accountant, this accountant took over from Mrs. Motsumi, a nurse who was health minister from 2003-2009. Earlier on, Mrs. Phumaphi who is also a nurse was the minister of health from 1989- 2002. It is noteworthy that these people performed excellently well and that is why Botswana is now being rated as one of the countries with the best health care indices in Africa. Physicians of recent times have not being ministers of health Botswana in fact none has been appointed health minister in Botswana since her independence in 1966. I make bold and I can be challenged anywhere that it has been researched and said that in any country of the world, the efficiency of health services is dependent on the placement of nurses. If the nurses are well placed, the health care outcome will be better but if they are not, the reverse is the case because nurses are the pivot upon which other health care profession revolves. The strike is yielding result that is why the members of the medical profession now went on a phantom strike that is baseless considering their requests; calling for the stoppage of the IPPIS which has been acclaimed to have saved billions of naira from being siphoned into overhead running costs in this country, calling for surgeon general; this country is not a country where you appoint a surgeon general. Well we are not saying the government of the day cannot appoint any body into position but we should take into consideration the effects of such appointments because if the government of the country should make a mistake of appointing a surgeon general, then they should be able to accommodate a nurse general in the country, pharmacist general, a laboratory scientist general in this country. So it is better we manage our system the way we are managing. By the grace of God, this next week the implementation committee headed by the head of service of the federation is going to come up with a report. It was in agitation of this enviable strike that has yielded result in rescuing Nigerian health industry from collapse that the resident doctors went on strike. And of course we are all living witnesses that when every other health workers were on strike, everything was in standstill but during their own strike work was going on because it was not a strike that was based on principle, it was based on “they wanted to give these people what they demanded for and we must also have something to say.” Initially, what they were even saying was that if the government should accede to our requests, they are going on strike for no just reason. They are just cooking up these reasons for going on strike and Nigerians are watching for the outcome of this negotiation. However, what I am trying to say is that the result of that one has started yielding because the industrial action has come to an end with an implementation committee set up. The implementation committee is going to submit its report and then the issue of skipping is a thing of the past though in a way that can be described as a useless move, the federal ministry of health are going to court on some of the issue. Also, talking about specialists and appointment of consultants, all over the world we know that when you are a consultant you have something to render. I am free to be a consultant in nursing practice, not in medicine, not in pharmacy. Why should another profession say I cannot become a consultant in nursing field in as much as I have the prerequisite qualification? Every professional has the right to become consultants in their fields of endeavour and that is why we are happy with the National Industrial Court of Nigeria judgement of last month which ruled that a lab scientist has the right to head the laboratory and investigative department of the hospital and not somebody who studied medicine and per chance because he is a pathologist. We are making way and we are watching the trend and by the grace of God, their challenge of consultancy for other people is going to be an exercise in futility and that is why I said there is positive result. The only thing we have to appeal to health care professionals is that we be patient, by the grace of God before the end of this month these things will be made empirical for us to see.
 
NNRM: Within the last one year, what have been the achievements of your administration as NANNM president?
3As: Well to me, achievement is a very objective thing because it is comparative. I am aware that nothing can be achieved in an era of chaos and by the grace of God we are guided by our manifesto. In my manifesto and that of the people that we are working together, we have a focus. In this regard, the first thing we did in office was to perform an appraisal of the achievements of the past regime and in this regards, I have cause to thank the founding fathers of this association for forming for us a professional association cum trade union in NANNM. We are building a bridge across all the membership of National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives and per chance one of the greatest achievement we have is to ensure that there is reconciliation among the ranks and file of Nigerian nurses. Today, our reconciliatory efforts have been able to bring back in whole the members of nurses that are in the federal health institution. This is a very great achievement to me because without peace you cannot achieve anything and membership is the strength of an organization. We are happy that leadership at all levels have been able to reconcile their differences and we are one and the same and with unity there is progress but without unity there is going to be retrogression. So this is one great achievement we have had. Not only this, across board we have been able to ensure that the gap between the old and the new generation is being bridged so that Nigerian nurses and midwives be one and the same. By the grace of God, we have already started unionising and bringing into our folds the private nurses and midwives and before the end of the first quarter of next year, the private nurses will be bonafide members again of the National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives. Part of the achievements is to measure up to the standard at the international level. Last year, the greatest number of nurses were led to attend the international council of nurses conference in Australia and I thank God that we were able to perform well there and give Nigerian nurses adequate representation. We have also participated in some other organisations at the international and national levels; we were in Liberia for the West African College of Nursing. Our midwives were also in Kenya and they have just come back from even Ghana. We have been able to reconcile that the last administration put much value on infrastructural development i.e. the leadership of Alhaji Hussein Lawal Dutsinma was able to build on infrastructural development apart from manpower development. We are turning around these structures for now because the situation is that if you have too many structures on ground without maintaining them, you will be losing them. So we are maintaining these ones and in our budget for this year, we still have in our proposal that before the end of next year, we are going to lay a foundation for a befitting national secretariat that will be our own that is a comprehensive one. We have also led other stakeholders to ensure that the thinking of the federal ministry of health that internship is not the right of nurses who are graduates from our universities is corrected and we are happy that we led the team of stakeholders like lecturers in the universities, the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria and the nursing department of the federal ministry of health to ensure that the federal ministry of health endorse the internship and this we have being pursuing vigorously. So also, we led Nigerian nurses to ensure that there is no incursion into the nursing profession. We were all living witnesses when the announcement of a medical doctor as the chairman of the Nursing & Midwifery Council of Nigeria which NANNM fought to a standstill with other stakeholders. We are happy to say that at least we have been able to ensure that this is changed and no other professional is made to superintend over our profession. We are happy today that another person has being announced as the chairman of N&MCN. Not only this, there are many ongoing things that we are doing; we are collaborating with the N&MCN and the department that oversees nursing activities in the federal ministry of health to evolve a tripartite body that will see to the affairs of nursing. These are some of the achievements and by the grace of God; the peaceful existence that we have established is going to be a very veritable tool for us to perform. Equally we are collaborating with our professional colleagues in the Diasporas and by the grace of God the collaboration efforts with these groups will soon begin to yield positive results.
SOURCE:Akinola Adekunle Olubunmi

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