The Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Health, Hon. Tanko Sonunu, has called for an improved hazard allowance for Nurses and midwives in the country as he noted that the N5000 hazard allowance being paid to nurses at the moment is unacceptable and needs to be reviewed
Although he gave some accolades to the current federal administration as he noted that they deserve commendation for their 100 percent budgetary provision for health and budgetary release, he added that the current hazard allowance was too low and nurses in the country, deserve improved working condition
He made this disclosure at the 2022 Nurses Day Celebration held in Abuja, where the President, National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNW) Comrade Michael Nnachi, disclosed how frustrating the delay in implementing approval for proper grading of nurses in Nigeria by the National Council on Establishment(NCE) and the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation, earlier this year was
He said “I quite believe that nurses and other health workers in the country have done a lot of sacrifice and they are currently making the sacrifice.
“The hazard allowance that we are talking about was made clear by our Speaker that this is not acceptable. N5000 as hazard is not acceptable. The House has championed the review of that allowance and we have agreed with the executive to liaise with the union so that we can have acceptable allowance,”
Hon. Sonunu said the hazard allowance required both the government and individual participation. He appreciated the nurses and midwives who have chosen to stay back and give their services to their country when they could have chosen to travel abroad too like their counterparts and practice there
Even as he said “the argument for the review of hazard allowance is germane and we must see to it’s conclusion”, the lawmaker however, observed that, “We are in a situation whereby the country is in poverty, diseases and insecurity. ”
“We call on you to please make more sacrifices. Most of you have the opportunity and the ability to move out of the country to practice, but you have decided on your own to remain, please couple that decision with ability to improve service delivery
He applauded the leadership of NANNW for bringing nurses-patient relationship to the fore at the event, saying, “This is the most vital aspect of the celebration.”
“Every health worker must be sure health worker-patient relationship is improved. As at today, in assessing quality healthcare delivery, patients satisfaction is an important key point. I must assure you, where the environment is hostile, patients cannot get satisfaction in the care they receive.
The government must, therefore, make efforts to ensure that the welfare of health workers is taken care of so that they can have the enabling environment to practice”, he said.
President of NANNW, Comrade Michael Nnachi, explained that what his organisation wanted to achieve with the celebration theme: “Investing in Nursing for Global Health” is that “we want the government to recruit more nurses to improve available workforce and to improve the condition of services of nurses and midwives in Nigeria.”
“I appreciate sincerely the government and the National Council on Establishment and in particular, the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation for giving approval for proper grading of nurses in Nigeria.
” The proper grading was achieved at the 43rd NCE that was held this year. It is important to make it clear that up till now, we are still expecting the enabling circular so that the implementation kicks-off. It will also help to ease the feelings of the nurses. If the circular is released, it will be a thing of joy
“There is urgent need to improve the welfare package of nurses in the country.
” All the people leaving Nigeria is for greener pasture, recognition and value attached to the nurses and midwives, if the government can do that, it will also give us a sigh of relief and we will be happy. The nurses because of the nature of our profession are committed and dedicated to work, we have the compassion and we have the empathy to care for people.
“As we are calling on the government to invest in nursing, we are talking about Universal Health Coverage and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we cannot achieve this without nurses and midwives. We are talking about access to healthcare, and affordability”, he added.
Meanwhile, the President of Nigeria Labour Congress(NLC)Comrade Ayuba Wabba, said that nurses are “entitled to hazard allowances that is commensurate to the service they are rendering”, said “we demand that the circular for the hazard allowance will be released.”
Wabba hailed NANNM “for organizing such an elaborate conference despite the challenges that is affecting workers and citizens in the country”, he described nursing as “a very noble profession.”
He expressed optimism that with the calibre of resource persons invited to the conference, participating “nurses will go back to their various states better.”
“You will also know how to assert your rights. Workers are not slaves. They are citizens. They have rights that needed to be respected that is why we have the provisions in our labour laws to protect our citizens.
“They are entitled to decent wages. They are entitled to hazard allowance that is commensurate to the service they are rendering and we demand that the circular for the hazard allowance be released, “he said.