A GROUP OF PROGRESSIVE NURSES UNDER THE AEGIS OF NURSES4UPGRADE PROFESSION, ARE CALLING ON THE COMMISSIONER OF HEALTH DELTA STATE TO TAKE THE PART OF HONOUR
In response to the publication on “Ononye Solicits Nurses Partnership in the Curbing Maternal and Child Mortality”, the nurses noted the following:
1) NANNM should support the reduction of maternal and under 5 mortality in rural communities of Delta state
2.) The training of Community Nurses and Midwives was an initiative of the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria (NMCN) and that the programme has been on for many years.
3.) Nurses have consistently rejected posting to rural communities and that maternal/under 5 mortality is due to shortage of nurses/midwives’ unwillingness to live and work in rural communities of Delta state
4.) No need to sell forms and community nurses and midwives will be bonded to work for some unspecified years.
5.) The same tutors and school will train them so the issue of quackery does not arise,
6.) NANNM Delta state chapter has continuously overstepped her boundaries of caring for the welfare of her members but instead prefer to usurp the policy formulation and implementation functions of the State Ministry of Health.
After taking a closer look at the content and intent of the commissioner’s response, one would have ignored him, but for the sake of posterity and the public interest whom we are privileged to represent, we are compelled to make some clarifications, re-education and subsequent suggestions on the way out of this dilemma.
On this premise, we thus submit:
1)That NANNM is constitutionally saddled with the responsibility of the welfare of all Nurses in Delta State which include those in the State Ministry of Health, Tertiary, Secondary and Primary health institutions, private practitioners and unemployed Nurses and Midwives. Unfortunately the HCH is paddling in an unknown terrain with his informants grossly misleading him with regards to the powers of NANNM as the watchdog of the profession and the public with the ability to forestall policies which are inimical to professional progress.
We need to know if one of the functions of the state Ministry of Health is the downgrading of Nursing through the introduction of un-gazettted hazardous health matters under the disguise of caring for the wellbeing of “RURAL DWELLERS”. The same commissioner of health who said on the 8th October 2019 at the NLC house during the NANNM election “That when I came into office and started seeing and hearing all this “we no go gree” people protesting against Nurses issues in the Ministry of Health, I thought they were troublemakers but now I know they are fighting for their rights”.
It is pertinent to mention that HCH Dr. Mordi Ononye has repeatedly worked against the progress of the Nursing profession with alien policies and programmes.
Such policies include but not limited to:
(i.) Wrong placement of staff in administrative position in the Ministry of Health Eg. Level 13 officer placed in Assistant Director’s position.
(ii) Contracting of PTS examination in the School of Nursing.
(iii) Removal of Rural Allowances from Nurses working in the rural areas with false claims that “there are no rural communities in Delta state”.
(iv) Refusal of NMCN proposal of upgrading the Schools of Nursing to degree awarding institutions.
(v) The commencement of Basic Midwifery programme.
(vi). Most recently application to the NMCN for Community Nursing and Midwifery programme without the input of stakeholders in Nursing care practice. A programme planned originally for Northern Nigerians with lack of adequately trained Nurses and Midwives, was suddenly adopted by Delta State Ministry Health with so much pride, despite high level of education and many unemployed Nurses and Midwives spanning into thousands from various communities in the state.
Each year the three Schools of Nursing and the State University produce about 300- 400 professionally licensed Nurses, yet the last employment of Nurses to the local government areas (rural) was done in 2004.
2) In seeing to the welfare of her members, the greatest wish of NANNM is the employment of over 1500 unemployed Delta State Nurses who are indigenes of the aforementioned rural communities spread out.
3) That same tutors and schools will train them does not mean the same curriculum! Since the curriculum differs, so the duration of training, hence they are definitely going to be substandard products. It is unfortunate that the commissioner of health who aims to run a programme that would integrate at least one candidate from the political wards in the 25 local government areas of the state does not deem it fit to consult the political representatives of the people at the state Houses of Assembly to make an amendment to the laws establishing the state Schools of Nursing Agbor and Eku if possible. Such action of his is not only an assault on the existing laws but capable of causing constitutional crisis in matters that the commissioner does not have jurisdiction over.
This lack of legal framework renders the programme fake, substandard and politically motivated as NMCN was diplomatically misled by the commissioner who did not reference the framework for such programme in the state. This is a matter of life and regulations in terms of training, curriculum and assessment are inevitable and should not be undermined. NANNM cannot watch while legalised quackery is being institutionalized by the commissioner who depends on foreign medical care to stay afloat.
4.) There are clear evidences of adverts and sales of forms for entrance examination sold at a non-refundable fee of N10,000 per candidate into the Ministry of Health, Department of Nursing and Midwifery Zenith bank account – 1015649624. These are parts of the decoy the public does not know about in the financial undertones motivating the promoters and plotters. Will the training for the two years be free of charge for the selected candidates?
5) Also no human being can be bonded to work in a particular location except that their freedom of movement is taken away. If by the completion of 2 years a man from Lagos state proposes marriage to the worker in village A, B, or C, will she say No?
6) On allegation that Nurses consistently reject posting to rural areas, we dare the commissioner to provide such evidence in the past 20 years. For avoidance of doubt, we have over 400 Nurses currently working in the rural communities even when their rural and riverine allowances have been withdrawn by government for about a year now under the gazing watch of Dr. Onoye. For the areas needing more Nurses, the state should employ and NANNM will ensure they are there as scheduled.
7) The claim that the Community Nursing and Midwifery programme has been on for many years is a big lie! NMCN did not also make the training mandatory for all states. NMCN circulars dated 20/02/20 and 03/03/20 and Numbered N&MCN/SG/RO/MH/10/VOL2/13 and N&MCN/SG/RO/CIR/24/VOL iv/152, is an indication that the program was initiated this year 2020.
8) NANNM is 100% ready in the fight against maternal and under 5 mortality because even when there was gross shortage of Nurses in Delta State Hospitals 3 years ago the association graciously released 150 of her members to render voluntary services, before the governor later employed them fully after 2 years of selfless service. We believe that His Excellency, the Governor of Delta State will never be myopic on health issues as his achievements so far have proven this through the successful free maternal and under 5 programme in which majority of the caregivers are Nurses and Midwives.
If the issue of maternal and child mortality, quality health care and universal coverage is an emergency, why not replace the over 200 retired Nurses in the past 16 years? Why wait two (2) whole years to train substandard products instead of employing ready-made quality products?
In submission, we hereby state:
-That the Governor should call the commissioner of health to order before setting the state on fire through his self-motivated anarchist programme. Human life is precious and should not be traded with on the altar of political gains and propaganda. Each life matters, thus the rural dwellers deserve the best of professionals either Nurses, Doctors, Midwives, CHOs or Paramedics.
-The State House of Assembly should investigate the motives behind the commissioner’s introduction of pseudonyms of quackery programme when the state has more than 8 health related medical institutions that produce more than one thousand professionals per annum.
-The government should, as a matter of urgency, lift embargoes on Health workers recruitment into the state ministry of health.
-A stakeholders’ conference should be called to address the best model to take care of the well-being of the rural dwellers.
-The government can bear witness to the commitment of NANNM members in catering for the well-being of the residents in terms of healthcare. The governor should caution his commissioner not to blackmail the union that is protecting the health and safety of the people they pledge to protect.
-If the ongoing rule of engagement is serially breached by the commissioner, the forum shall in collaboration with sister bodies take further actions.
As professional Nurses in Delta state, what we need is employment of our graduate Nurses and Midwives and not training of low cadre Nurses and Midwives.