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Nurses demand better work conditions, welfare, as NARD strike persists





Nurses have urged the Federal Government to, as a matter of urgency, improve the welfare and working conditions of health workers in the country for improved services.

They made the call on the heels of the ongoing strike by the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) which has crippled healthcare delivery and access in public hospitals across the country.

The nurses made their demands known at a five-day “Train the Trainer’’ workshop under the National Surgical, Obstetric, Anaesthesia, and Nursing Plan for Nigeria (NSOANP) in partnership with Smile Train in Abuja on Thursday.

Mrs Olubunmi Lawal-Aiyedun, the former President, National Association of Nigerian Pediatric Nurses, said “people are dying; so many things are wrong with the health system.

“I call on government to do the needful, we need to change the narrative and call off the strike.’’

Lawal-Aiyedun, who said that doctors needed to be comfortable to be able to put in their best, added that “it is not easy putting your life on the line daily to ensure the health of others.
“In many hospitals, you find that one nurse is attached to about 30 to 40 patients. There is gross lack of adequate health professionals.’’

She, however, urged nurses to continue to put in their best in delivering a global standard of healthcare.

She said that nurses and midwives used flashlight to take deliveries in some Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs)

“And in some cases where a child is asphyxiated, that is, he or she cannot breathe and needs the aid of medical equipment, such tool is not available.

“In the past, the child is held with the head down and feet up and tapped on the back to get them to breathe

again.Unfortunately, several decades later, this is still being done because the infrastructure and enabling environment are not there.’’

Mrs Blessing Opara, the Assistant Director, Nursing, National Hospital, Abuja, said that the workshop was to freshen the knowledge of nurses in public hospitals to enable them to function optimally.

Opara also said that nurses were working under difficult conditions, saying “instead of nursing four patients, we nurse 20 or more in a shift.

“Manpower is the major challenge that nurses face in providing healthcare today.’’

Mrs Morayo Eboh, a Principal Nursing Officer at Defence Intelligence College, Karu, Abuja, said that the lack of modern equipment was another challenge nurses faced in supporting healthcare delivery.

Eboh, who is also a Critical Care Nurse, called for better communication and collaboration between healthcare professionals and for an end to the protocols that prevent the delivery of emergency healthcare to patients.

She said “you tend to see many nurses improvising due to the lack of medical equipment that should ordinarily be available in health facilities and so they are forced to do the best they can with what is available.

“Synergy and communication among professionals are important when rendering quality care to patients and reducing preventable deaths.

“The process of obtaining a folder during an emergency should be stepped down. I think if we break some of these protocols when it comes to quality care will reduce preventable deaths.’’

Mr Francis Obaje, a Theatre Nurse at Kogi State Specialists Hospital, Lokoja, urged nurses to communicate more with
patients “to change the perception that nurses are heartless and lack passion.

“Let us try to place ourselves in the position of the patients, empathise with them on how they feel, and the new environment they are forced to adjust to.’’

He said that the strike by NARD members had affected the capacity of the healthcare system to deliver care as surgeries among other critical services had reduced or stopped in some facilities.

Mrs Victoria Awazie, the Programme Manager, Smile Train West Africa, said that the workshop was the pilot phase of a collaboration between the organisation and NSOANP for nurses across the 36 states and the FCT.
She said that the training was part of a five-year plan to build the capacity of nurses to improve the quality of care in hospitals.

She added that “when patients come to hospital, their first contacts are nurses. The training will improve the knowledge of nurses on how to deal with patients.

“We are carrying out this training to address the occurrence of sentinel events, that is patients dying in the hospital when aftercare is being administered.

“The training will equip nurses to know what to do when doctors are not available.’’

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that in 2019, the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) set up NSOANP with a five-year strategic plan to reduce out-of-pocket spending on surgical care by increasing financing.

The plan targets a 35-per cent coverage of surgical care and a health insurance coverage rate of 50 per cent by 2023.

With a 15-per cent increase in budgetary allocation to the health sector by 2023, the Federal Government hopes to strengthen the healthcare system through investment in surgical care to increase productivity.

The NSOANP training was held physically and virtually, with 24 participants in attendance, while about 200 nurses joined virtually. (NAN)

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SOFPON provides free surgical intervention for Lagos residents




The Society of Family Physicians of Nigeria (SOFPON) has conducted free surgical intervention for 60 residents of Lagos State to reduce morbidity and risk of death from common medical conditions.

Dr Sixtus Ozuomba, Chairman, SOFPON, Lagos chapter, said this during the association’s surgical outreach in celebration of the World Family Doctors Day on Saturday in Lagos.

The day celebrated annually on May 19 has as its theme: ‘Family Doctors: The Heart of Primary Care’, emphasising the critical role of family doctors in delivering compassionate and patient-centred care to their patients.

Ozuomba noted that basic surgical procedures were among the most cost-effective health interventions that could prevent avoidable deaths, boost welfare and economic productivity.

He, however, said that poverty and affordability of surgical care was a huge challenge for many Nigerians, irrespective of the part of the country where they resided.

According to him, to bridge the gap of accessibility to surgical procedures, SOFPON organised free surgical intervention for lipoma, breast lump, ingrown toenail, ganglion, hernia and other day cases surgery.

He said that 60 people would benefit from the intervention which was held at Onikan General Hospital and General Hospital, Odan, Lagos.

Ozuomba said the surgeries funded from the dues and levies of SOFPON members was to complement the Lagos State Government’s efforts in ensuring qualitative healthcare for its citizens.

Speaking on the theme of the 2023 celebration, Ozuomba said that family physicians were reputed for providing comprehensive, continuous and coordinated healthcare to individuals, families and communities.

Ozuomba said that family doctors also advocated on behalf of their patients as it regarded government’s policies and actions.

“We have a lot of competent areas, what people have been saying is the medical aspects, we are not limited by disease entity, age or sex of the patients.

“Surgery is also an aspect of the competent areas of a family physician. We decided to showcase that this year and let people benefit from it.

“Some people that have been finding it difficult to get into the healthcare system are seizing the opportunity to come in,” he said.

He noted that brain drain was affecting all specialties of the health sector, especially the family doctors whom he said were in high demand due to their competence that cuts across specialties.

Similarly, Dr Oghide Oziegbe, Secretary of SOFPON, said the free surgical intervention would relieve many beneficiaries from pain and discomfort which they have had for years but could not treat due to paucity of funds.

Oziegbe noted that the beneficiaries had undergone free laboratory tests and assessments to assess their fitness for the surgery.

He noted that 40 per cent of the patients were booked for hernia surgery, while breast lumps took the other number followed by procedures for ganglion, lipoma and ingrown toenail.

Also, Dr Madewa Adebajo, Medical Director, Onikan General Hospital, said the surgical intervention had assisted to eliminate out-of-pocket expenses for beneficiaries, advising residents to register for the Ilera Eko health insurance plan to ensure access to healthcare services.

He also appealed to healthcare personnel to shun braindrain, saying that the state had improved its infrastructure and curriculum to encourage career progression.

Earlier, Prof. Akin Abayomi, Lagos State Commissioner for Health, said the state was committed to ensuring the provision of quality and affordable healthcare services to residents, irrespective of their socio-economic status.

Abayomi said that Ilera Eko which connoted the wellbeing and health of all residents of Lagos state was created to achieve universal health coverage for Lagos residents.

He called on all residents to prioritise their health and buy into the Lagos State Health Scheme, while commending SOFPON for its efforts in supporting government to bridge access to quality medical care for citizens. (NAN)

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Resident doctors suspend 5 days warning strike, resume work today



Nigerian Medical Doctors

National Association of Resident Doctors, NARD, yesterday, suspended its 5-day nationwide warning strike.

National President of the association, Dr. Emeka Orji, told Vanguard that work resumes by today 8a.m., all federal and state Teaching Hospitals as well as other hospitals where resident doctors are trained.

He said: “Strike has been suspended and work resumes at 8a.m., tomorrow (today). Progress made will be reviewed on June 2. 2023, during our general meeting where the next line of action will be decided.”

NMA raises alarm over 5-month doctors’ salaries arrears in Abia, Imo, Ekiti, Ondo, Anambra
Doctors strike as national embarrassment

Recall that the doctors under the auspices of the National Association of Resident Doctors, NARD, began a five-day warning strike in public health facilities across the federation on Wednesday last week.

Some of the demands of the doctors include; immediate massive recruitment of clinical staff in the hospitals and abolishment of the bureaucratic limitations to the immediate replacement of doctors and nurses who leave the system, immediate infrastructural development in public hospitals with a subsequent allocation of at least 15 percent of the budgetary provisions to health in line with the Abuja declaration of 2001 and immediate increment in the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure, CONMESS, to the tune of 200 per cent of the gross salary of doctors among others.

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Industrial Action: Resident Doctors Give FG Two-Week Ultimatum On Pending Agreements



Nigerian Medical Doctors
Nigerian Medical Doctors

The national leadership of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has issued a two-week ultimatum to the Federal Government to commence the implementation of all pending agreements.

The ultimatum was handed down in a communiqué at the end of a three-day extraordinary National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held at the Federal Medical Centre in Abeokuta, Ogun State.

The resident doctors also demanded a 15 percent annual budgetary allocation for the health sector from the current 5.7 percent, to address the current infrastructure decay, the recruitment of clinical staff to bridge the gap created by the current brain in the sector among other demands.

“NEC resolved to issue the Government a two-week ultimatum beginning today, 29th April 2023, to resolve all these demands, following the expiration of which on the 13th May 2023, we may not be able to guarantee industrial harmony in the sector nationwide,” the communiqué said.

Among its demands are an immediate increment in the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS) salary structure to the tune of 200 percent of the current gross salary of doctors.

According to the doctors, the demanded revision of salary structure is in addition to the new allowances included in the letter written by NARD to the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, on July 7, 2022 for the review of CONMESS.

The NARD leadership further demanded the immediate withdrawal and jettisoning of the “ill-conceived” bill by the House of Representatives member representing Oshodi/Isolo Federal Constituency II in Lagos State, Ganiyu Johnson, on the alleged enslavement of young doctors in Nigeria.

It also sought the immediate payment of the 2023 Medical Residency Training Fund (MRTF) in line with the agreements reached at the stakeholders’ meeting convened by the Federal Ministry of Health.

“This should be done without further delay,” the communiqué added.

It also demanded the commencement of payment of all salary arrears owed to NARD members, including 2014, 2015, and 2016 salary arrears, as well as areas of the consequential adjustment of the minimum wage.





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