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OPINION: A Clarion Call On The Roles Of NANNM To Nigerian Nurses and Midwives
Date Posted: 26/Mar/2021
To the average Nigeria Nurse, NANNM is synonymous to Nursing, even though they see it  more from the "money eating clan" of Nursing while council can be viewed as their sister. Generally, NANNM was  actually established to mediate between the Nurses, the public (people) and the Governments of the land. This foundational goal has not changed rather it has expanded to accommodate many goals. But over time, many of us grew to look at NANNM as if they are not for "us" but for "themselves" who are the elected few. This synchronizes with the lyrics of Micheal Jackson, "They Don't really Care About Us". 
 
The Unemployed NURSES have no reason to recognise who is NANNM? 
The terminated Nurses from there workplace will ask, wetin NANNM do for me?
The yet to be promoted Nurse won't be happy dining and winning with Nurses? 
The disenfranchised Nurse will have thousands of reasons to grow resentment against the ROLES of NANNM.
While our sentiments may be genuine and justifiable, in actuality, "WHAT IS THE ROLE OF NANNM TO NIGERIA NURSES"
 
THE NAME AND CONSTITUTIONALITY The Registered name According to the provisions of Section 1 of NANNM Constitutions as amended in (2018)is: NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA NURSES AND MIDWIVES (NANNM). As REGISTERED members  of our Professional Association, we collectively expected it to execute its primary ROLES. While it is indisputable to submit that all Nigeria Nurses do not belong to NANNM even though it ought not to be, what gain is there in for those that are financial members of NANNM since inception as enshrined in Sections 4, 7 and Part C under the addendums?
 
The National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) is a professional-cum trade union organization recognized by the Trade Unions (Amendment) Act of 2005.  It is a non-governmental and non-profit organization authorized to organize all professional nurses and midwives who are trained, registered and licensed to practice Nursing Profession at all the levels of the healthcare delivery system both in public and private sectors in Nigeria.
 
History:
The first organization of nurses in Nigeria is known as the Nigeria Union of Nurses (NUN), which was formed in 1938 and registered in 1943.  The union was said to be led by one Mr. Kuti (a nurse) as honorary Secretary General (SG). In 1944, the late Nathaniel Cole was appointed the first General Secretary of the Union.  Mr. Cole was later joined by Mr. S. S. O. Ekezie, Mr. Ayoola Adeleke and Mr. Clement Njoku.
 
In 1957, an organization known as the Professional Association of Trained Nurses of Nigeria (PATNON) was formed at the University College Hospital (UCH) in Ibadan by a small group of Nurses who were trained in the United Kingdom.  Later in the year, PATNON changed its name to Nigeria Nurses Association (NNA).
The existence of Nigeria Union of Nurses and the Professional Association of Trained Nurses of Nigeria polarized the unionization of nurses as each group claimed to be the authentic umbrella body of nurses in the country.
 
The disunity amongst Nurses became more pronounced in the Udoji Award of 1976 because they sang discordant tones on issues of their common interest. However, the huge loss in the Udoji Award became the unifying factor for the Nurses emerged wiser and mindful of the fact that united they stand, divided they fall. Therefore, on the 8th of December 1977 at the famous City Hall in Lagos, the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) was formed as a single umbrella body of all Nurses and Midwives in the country.   It was formed for the members of the nursing and midwifery profession to speak with one voice and to work for a common cause, and the people who were central to the formation of the Association were Mr.  E. O. Adelowo (now late), HRM Oba (Apostle) Moses A. Olabode, PA. S. O. Ikotun (now late), Mrs. Adetoun Bailey, Chief (Mrs.) A. A. Taiwo, Mrs. Remi Ayida, Mrs. Julie Anigbo, Mrs. Josephine Anyamene, Mr. Kola Oyedepo, M. I. D. Musa and Mrs. Hanatu Omale as well as nationwide Chief Nursing Officers and Principals of School of Nursing and Midwifery across the country.
 
Currently, NANNM is led by Comrade Micheal Nnachi who was elected as National President in the last January 2021, National Delegates Conference (NDC2021).
 
HISTORICAL IMPLICATIONS:
1) Nigeria Nurses Union has been since 1938(83 Years), or 1943(78 years) or 1977 (44Years). Invariably, we have witnessed close to nine decades, and saw two centuries. In actuality, is it How Long or How Well?
2) Crisis, contradictions and internal implosions have been part of us since time immemorial. Are things better today, NANNM vs GNAN and NUNSA vs NANSNM dichotomy knows the yes or no to these questions. 
3) Now that we have seen an extract of our past, in unison, we can make NANNM better, stronger, greater and higher for the next generation. NANNM ought to serve our Interest, only if we reconnect with it as our own. Thus, the essence of today's theme: "Roles of NANNM to Nurses in Nigeria"
 
What are the Roles/Aims and Objectives of NANNM as enshrined in our Constitution?
The objectives and aims of establishing NANNM can be extracted from Section 3(3)a-n  of NANNM Constitution as amended in (2018). These are vis-a-vis:
 
a) To organize all registered Nurses and Midwives in Nigeria who are qualified for membership to form a trade union and a professional organization. 
b) To provide a forum or avenue where Nurses speak with one voice.
c) To set and improve the standard of services which the Nurses give to the general public.
d)  To improve Nursing Education at all levels throughout the federation.
e) To participate in planning, policy-making, and administration of health care delivery services at all levels of government.
f) To provide a forum whereby understanding, fellowship and unity can be achieved and maintained at all times amongst all members of the Nursing profession.
g) To raise the status of the profession, obtain just and proper remuneration, hours of work and other conditions/schemes of service that will enhance the dignity of the profession and generally protect the professional and socio-economic interests of members.
h) To provide legal protection to members of the association when faced with legal issues in the course of their employment/practice
I) Nurses and Midwives to be properly mentored and directed to the ideals of the profession. 
j) To operate the schemes that are beneficial to members as may be decided by the National Executive Council (NEC) from time to time. 
k) To uphold the International code of Nursing Ethics and position statements as enunciated by the International Council of Nurses (ICN) as well as the World Health Organization (WHO) as they affect Nursing practice.
l) To affiliate with the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and or fraternize with any other relevant International professional organizations with similar aims and objectives.
m) To establish and maintain good relationships with the members of the Public, other professions, trade unions, employers, Nurses and Midwives at  all the Governments of Nigeria.
n) To establish and maintain good relationships with nursing colleagues in Africa, Commonwealth and other parts of the world.
 
X-Raying the Roles and the realities on ground today
We shall be taking a few of the selected roles to explore how far and possibly what can be done to integrate the leadership to the Nurses collective needs and interest. We shall be looking at Section 3 subsection 3c,e,g and h. In actuality, everything that ought to make the Nigeria Nurses feel at home has been extrapolated within the Constitutions. If the ideals of our byelaw were maximized, may be the desire to exit the country would have long been quelled! Alas, what are we seeing today?
 
Sections 3(3c)
c) To set and improve the standard of services which the Nurses give to the general public.
-Currently, NANNM is collaborating to ensure that  the NMCN Act is reviewed as this serves as the Nucleus of our service to the Nigeria Community anf the world in general . A proposal is in the National Assembly for the amendment of NMCN Act. Are you aware of this? Did you contribute? 
-Alliance with NMCN on the introduction of MCPDP is worthy of commendations, even the conferences held nationally and at State levels have significantly added to the practice bank of the Nigerian Nurses. What do you think? 
-The rumple of quackery: the reigns of quacks marauding as "Auxiliary Nurses" has pitched NANNM against its members. They impersonate to misrepresent us. Lack of collaborative PROSECUTIONS between NANNM and NMCN has added to our woes in this regard. 
 
Sections 3(3e)
e) To participate in planning, policy-making, and administration of health care delivery services at all levels of government.
-Are the Nurses feeling the outcome of this health planning, decision making and administration of healthcare….levels of Government? 
-As per the ongoing Covid-19 Vaccination, to what extent did NANNM lead Nurses to participate since the outbreak in March 2020 till date? How loud were we when others shun out data and indisputable statistics? 
-What are the Nurses Healthcare master plan for the next five years, ten and twenty years to come?
 
Sections 3 (3g)
g) To raise the status of the profession, obtain just and proper remuneration, hours of work and other conditions/schemes of service that will enhance the dignity of the profession and generally protect the professional and socio-economic interests of members.
- What is the public perception of the Nigeria Nurses today as compared to fifteen years back?
-Are the Nurses justly being paid both in the public and private sector? Is the pay equitable for the Nurses as compared to their contributions?  
-To what extent are the extant labour and civil service laws adding flavour and favour to Naija Nursing? 
-How many Nigeria Nurses are satisfied with the condition of services in our clinical settings: private, public? 
-What does the mass exodus of Nigeria trained Nurses portend to the actualization of this NANNM objectives? 
-How many USA, UK, Australia, French Nurses are seeking for work permits here because of the improved workplace packages and remunerations? 
-Socioeconomically, are the Nurses not vulnerable in Nigeria?
 
Sections 3( 3h)
h) To provide legal protection to members of the association when faced with legal issues in the course of their employment/practice.
-To what extent has NANNM protected its members legally in the face of administrative overburden? 
- What has NANNM said about the rotating assaults against the average Naija Nurses? 
- What is the synergy between the union and the security apparatus/organizations to ensure that these objectives are maximized?
- There are countless Nurses in the Court of competent jurisdiction seeking for JUSTICE where their labour rights were trampled upon either by termination of appointment, suspension from service,  demotion in rank arbitrarily. How many did NANNM stand with?
 
The above few expanded but expected roles are miniature of what the over 14listed goals stood for. Ask the next Nurse near you if they are really proud of the Roles of NANNM to the Profession today?
 
Factors delimiting NANNM in the full actualization of its mandate?
The success or failure of NANNM is directly proportional to the membership commitment and contributions. Unfortunately, Nigeria is currently ravaged by many professionals who are indifferent to the duties of NANNM, while others aren't relenting to make it better.  
Some of these factors include;
-Lack of documentations/database. Most Nurses complain but don't REPORT officially!
-Frailed communication. While leaders are snubbing, followers are snoring. Now, we are in the snow of dissatisfaction. 
-Some officials indifference and apathy: Many were selected and not elected. They don't have our mandate, thus, "You cannot give what you don't have" in the lines of Comr. Osasuyi.
-Government policies and censorship: Some chapters  today turned themselves to pro-government and pro-management circuits for reasons best known to the collaborators.
-Lack of inclusive Governance: Nationwide, Nursing critics are silenced or setup to shotup! Until we allow the least among us to have their say, much cannot be achieve.
-Anachronistic electioneering. This is a topic for another day.
-Poor membership participation in Congresses and Delegates conferences. Even when they are called, many use their family as excuses, countless number of Nurses cannot attend meeting outside their off duties because "Nobody go pay me back". Oftentimes, Congresses are not held to the best of the officials capability.
-Lack of transparency and prudent management. Annually, Nigeria Nurses contribute Billions of Naira to ensure NANNM function optimally. What is the gain? What is our reward? What are the ACHIEVEMENTS?
-Growing importation of quotatism, cynicism, genderism, tribalism, nepotism, consumerism, distortions etc.
 
Way Forward
With high expectations of what the Profession should look like in the 21st century Nursing especially from the followers, the burden of slow or dearth of achievement on the part of the leadership of NANNM has widened the gulf per day. I therefore posit that:
1) The leadership of our union must see more of the supremacy of the Nurses "FOLLOWERSHIP" than the choreographed agelong "Leaders and winners take it all". Carry the Nurses along including the STUDENTS. Listen to their plights. 
2) Effective communication: With the advent of technology, much can be done to respond to the Nurses needs nationwide at seamless cost to both the leadership and followership. I expect the current regime to roll out "Social Media Engagement'' as a way of tackling Nurses problems. This was part of the strategies that was  discussed at the tail end of last  regime. Leadership is a continuum, and hope Comr Mike do something about quarterly "Face to Face with Nigeria Nurses?". With Zoom, Team's Meeting, Teleconference etc, the Nurses can feel belong again! 
More so, there  should be an established National and States 'Media And Publicity Committee' saddled with 24/7 correspondence with the Nurses. Serially, I have advocated for at least 3-5% of our Check-Off Dues to be invested on this COMMUNICATION affairs. 
3) Members must attend all gatherings: Meetings and Congresses aimed at helping the course of Nurses should not be ignored.  Your staying away has led us into this aqua!
4) NANNM elections at all levels must be held with all sense of transparency, truthfulness, openness, inclusiveness etc. The hooding by some presumed elites has not earned us the choice of leadership we cravei for. We need pragmatic leadership and not catapulted 'LOYALISTs' whose consumption is their sponsors. 
5) The constitution should be allowed to be operationalized as it was crafted while seeking judiciary help to decode any untoward ambiguity. A lot of the administrators actions have been debased. Delegates are chosen by the selected few instead of the empowered Congress. Strikes are called off without the inputs of the followers. Deals are struck without the computation of the COD payers, and the list is endless. RULE OF LAW must be allowed for peace and tranquility in the years to come.
 
Conclusion:
Nurses at all level must ensure they support NANNM to actualize its set objectives for the Nurses. With United fronts, we can win and make it better.
Yes, it can only get better! 
 
Thank You
 
Ojunekwu N. Felix
Emergency Nurse,
Delta State.
gr8ofnetwork@gmail.com
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