Members of the National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) Lagos State Chapter, on Thursday joined the global community in celebrating the Flagging off of 2020 “Year of the Nurse & Midwife” as designated by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the World Health Assembly, in honour of the 200th birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale.
To flag off the campaign in Lagos, the nurses embarked on an awareness walk from the NANNM House, Agidigbin to the Lagos State Secretariat, to sensitise the people about the roles of nurses in healthcare delivery and particularly in achieving Universal Health Coverage.
Sub-themed: “Nursing Lagosians to Health… Nursing the World to Health”, the nurses were seen on the streets of Lagos enlightening the populace about their caring services as they enthusiastically chanted and vigorously danced to the nurses’ anthem and other nurses’ related songs to catch the attention of the people.
Speaking with pressmen during the walk, the NANNM State Chairperson, Com. Blessing Israel, explained the essence of the celebration, saying it is a very notable year for nurses globally, to recognise their wonderful jobs to patients in the nooks and crannies of the society. It is also about the celebration of the 200th birthday of Florence Nightingale- the mother of modern nurses.
“The flagging off of 2020 “Year of the Nurse & Midwife” was a directive was from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the World Health Assembly, that it should commenced today. As I’m talking to you now, Northern Island nurses are also celebrating today 16 January, 2020. And we are planning for the proper launching of the campaign.
“For us, 2020 and the decade are for nurses in Nigeria. We want to ensure that patients in Lagos State access affordable and quality healthcare services. We are going to align with global health events, as commencing from 4 February, which is World Cancer Day, we are going to create awareness all over Lagos on the preventive measures for cancer.
“We will also ensure that everyone in Lagos will come to understand the role of nurses in Universal Health Coverage, as we make ourselves available for the maximum health of all citizens.
Asked on WHO’s plans for Nigerian nurses, she said the apex health institution has different programmes for nurses this year. Currently, she stated that there is a programme in Dublin, and in Nigeria, WHO in collaboration with the FMoH and NANNM, will host the official launch of the 2020 “Year of Nurse and midwife”, by January ending.
The nurses, while on the walk also visited the office of the Director of Nursing, Lagos State Ministry of Health, Mrs Dorcas Shonibare, who was represented by the Assistant Director of Nursing, Mrs Sola Aketi.
Aketi, while speaking with Pharmanewsonline highlighted the specific roles of nurses in Universal Health Coverage, one of which is to ensure that quality care is given to all patients irrespective of their financial status. Quality healthcare that is safe, empathic, timely, effective, patient-centred, and equal for all.
She further stated that the target is to reduce infants and maternal mortality rates in country. Nigeria has the second highest maternal mortality rate in the world, because after India, Nigeria is the next, and that should not be, because we have several opportunities in our neighbourhood that people can benefit from.
However, she said their nursing studies revealed that midwives are prevented from giving their services immediately to patients due to doctors’ absence. “When we did our own nursing studies, we found that a midwife that will be on ground to deliver a baby successfully is being denied, because of doctor absence. Yes the doctor need to be there, but it is the midwife that will deliver the baby before the doctor comes”.
Thus, Aketi urged other members of the healthcare team to give midwives their right of place in delivering their skillful interventions to pregnant women timely, in order to achieve the goal of reducing maternal mortality rate in the country.
Ironically, while nurses were celebrating the commencement of “Year of Nurse & Midwife” in Lagos, members of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) on Wednesday protested against alleged attacks on health workers, particularly against the stripping of a female doctor by family members of a patient who later died.
According to NAN, the physicians also commenced a three-day strike action across the FCT, to show their grievances. Addressing the protesters, the Minister of State for FCT, Ramatu Aliyu, assured them that measures were being put in place to end all forms of assault against doctors.