“Leadership is solving problems. The day soldiers stop bringing you their problem is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help or concluded you do not care…” Collin Powell
I came across the “first real interview” of the NANNM president granted to the veteran journalist Gbenro Adeoye of the Punch newspaper yesterday and felt obligated to put up this piece. This interview is coming at a time when nurses are beginning to ask themselves whether the number one nurse in the country has phobia for the media unlike his counterpart at the helm of affairs in NMA; and at a time when the politics in the health sector seems to be heating up by the agreement of president Goodluck to create the office of the Surgeon general of the federation in order to avert the impending strike by members of NMA. One would have expected his interview to be centred on the core issues affecting nursing education and practices in the country as they affect patients’ care but I found his interview below expectation.
To start with, the issue of quackery and impostors in the profession has in no doubt has its toll on the image of nursing as a profession in Nigeria. This was acknowledged by comrade Adeniji himself in his interview but the association seems to see this as not so important issue that demands her intervention. The inspectorate unit of the N&MCN whose functions include: Evolvement of control measures to check the infiltration of quacks into the profession and liaising with states ministry of health and state commissioners of police for the prosecution of identified quacks among others have practically gone into a “Jonah-like” sleep while NANNM is providing the comfort for her to have a sound sleep. The president should note that council failure is also the failure of NANNM; the association which is the mouthpiece of the profession in the country needs to make council alive to her responsibilities especially as it affects nursing practices and image. It is not enough to warn Nigerians; we own the public the duty to protect them from harm by picking up impostors and their trainers and prosecuting them in accordance with extant law of the land.
The silence of NANNM president on the internship struggle for graduate nurses shows that NANNM is not concerned about the future of the profession in Nigeria. These students have been denied of their rights, no thanks to the lackluster attitude of their parent body. It is only a wicked parent that would hear the cry of her children and still continue to dance azonto with a snail speed race when coming to the rescue. February 19 rally by the student body in Abuja is a shame on the leadership of NANNM; it sends a clear signal that NANNM is not interested in the progress of the younger generation of nurses. The mutism of NANNM on this shows that she is leaving the internship struggle to die a natural death the way she did in connivance with MMCN and killed the initiative of assimilating schools of nursing into universities in Nigeria. If NMA could go on strike partly because of underfunding of residency program in the country I see no reason why NANNM shouldn’t use the same tool to achieve this objective.
It is understandable that the man at the top of affair in NANNM may have left JOHESU and AHPA to speak on the proposed creation of the office of surgeon general of the federation; however effort must be made to carry nurses which are the major stakeholders in the alliance along. The president needs to be proactive and responsive to trends and politics of the health care system in Nigeria; he must not shy away from the media as that is one of the ways our voice can be heard. Consistent and prompt press release on issues that affect health and nursing practices in Nigeria is equally important. The president also needs to do the needful so as to actualize the dream of internship for graduate nurses and put in place mechanism with stakeholders to hasten the ongoing reform in nursing education in the country so as to meet the health care needs of the populace in this 21st century.
BY: Idowu Peculiar
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