The National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) has decried the increased assaults on nurses and midwives handling COVID-19 cases in different isolation centres across the country.
NANNM lamented that over 2000 Nigerian health care professionals especially nurses and doctors had tested positive for COVID-19 while about 15 health care professionals lost their lives.
Speaking at an event to mark the 2020 Nurses and Midwives Day, yesterday, in Abuja, President of the association, Abdurafiu Alanis Adeniji, noted that hazards being confronted by nurses and midwives were enormous.
He added that they were being unduly exposed to coronavirus by some patients who hide their medical/travel history as well as non-disclosure of contact with an infected individual when patient and relative present at the health care facilities.
Adeniji said that from the statistics received through NANNM COVID-19 Situation Report Room, almost 1000 nurses and midwives had been exposed to coronavirus, out which about 200 were on isolation.
He disclosed that five nurses and midwives have lost their lives to the virus, adding that the health care system in the country appears to have been over stretched and on the verge of being overwhelmed.
Adeniji observed that WHO’s prescription is 40 nurses per 100,000 populations but regretted that Nigeria was operating five to six nurses to 100,000 populations.
According to him, the current situation provides an unusual opportunity for commitment and increased investment on the nursing and midwifery profession. “There are evidences of lack of adequate awareness and knowledge of the nature and transmission of COVID-19 disease. There is equally lack of adequate knowledge on the use of PPE and sometimes some health care frontline professionals violate infectious diseases principle and protocol. “These further exposes frontline health care professionals to infections particularly COVID-19, in our resource-constrained society.”
However, the impact of COVID-19 on Nigerian nurses and midwives cannot be over emphasised amid tension, insufficient Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), anxiety, inadequate provision of medical consumables and few life support equipment, absence of life insurance and the problem of transportation in some instances.”