Thursday, 18 January 2018

LASSA FEVER: NURSES CALL FOR OVERHAUL OF HEALTH SYSTEM; BEMOAN PALTRY HAZARD ALLOWANCE PAID TO HEALTH WORKERS.

Nurses under the auspices of University Graduates of Nursing Science Association (UGONSA) have frowned at the state of the Nigerian health system and called on the government to live up to its responsibility and overhaul the health system for efficient and effective care delivery.
Reacting to the recent death of Doctors and Nurses at the hand of Lassa fever in  Ebonyi State, the association decried as despicable the level of lip service paid to development and strengthening of the Nigerian health system by successive governments.
In a  statement in Abakaliki on Thursday by its National President, Chief (Hon) Solomon Egwuenu, and its National Secretary, Nurse Goodluck Nshi, the association said the recent killings by Lassa Fever of health workers in Ebonyi State was avoidable  but for gross neglect and abandonment of our health system by government.
“At the latest count more than 40 health workers have died as a result of Lassa fever in Ebonyi State alone in the past 13 years.  This ugly incidence has continued because there have been no proactive measures fostered by the government to arrest it over the years.
“What we see each time we experience the avoidable dead of health workers from Lassa fever is that government officials rush to the press to commiserate with the victims and hypocritically resume the supply of basic personal protective equipments (PPE) and hand sanitizers to hospitals. But as soon as the tension dies down, hand sanitizers, PPEs, electricity  and ever running water disappear and become essential commodities in our hospitals, leaving our compassionate nurses and physicians with the pathetic option of treating patients largely unprotected, and in the process, dying while trying to save others from a preventable disease like the Lassa fever.
“The worst is that as we bury the deceased in agony, the government mocks the living health workers by paying them five thousand naira as hazard allowance. In Nigeria today, we all know that five thousand naira can hardly procure a comprehensive therapeutic drug regimen let alone run a basic laboratory health screening.
“Despite this, our irrational government that pays millions of naira to political office holders as newspaper and wardrobe allowances does not see any good in reviewing upward the current ridiculous hazard allowance payable to health workers in the face of non-provision or inadequate supply of basic PPE and sanitizers for standard universal precaution in our healthcare institutions.
“We advice JOHESU and NMA to sheath their swords and fight together to salvage the plight of the Nigerian  health workers especially on this issue of abusive hazard allowance because the current government seems insensitive to the plight of the health workers and more so seems too comfortable with the rot in our health system.
The association further queried why the South-East virology centre built by Ebonyi State government and commissioned by the Federal government two years ago is not yet fully functional, necessitating the arduous ferrying of victims of Lassa fever, by road, to far away Irrua in Edo State, which leads to the
deaths, from exhaustion, of some of them in the course of such a long distance journey on very bad roads.
“With the pomp and ceremony that greeted the commissioning of the South-East virology centre, we thought the government had meant business in efforts to curtail the endemic Lassa fever. Two years later, it is now clear that it was the usual case of “the more you look, the less you see”.
“We have come to the conclusion that the problem with Nigeria is not APC or PDP or any other political party but bad leadership. With the change mantra mouthed by the APC, we hoped that Buhari was coming to overhaul our health system and end medical tourism. But what we have witnessed is escalating medical tourism, poor remuneration of health workers, dearth and decay of facilities and incessant migration of our best brains in the health system oversea in search of greener pastures.
The association called on Nigerians to be objective and wise and stop voting along ethnic, religious, tribal or party lines but rather on verifiable facts of what a candidate can offer.
“While we urge Nigerians to diligently observe all the preventive measures against Lassa fever currently being preached across electronic and traditional media, such as rearing of cats in rodent-populous environments, storage of foods and wastes in rodent-proof containers, cooking of foods properly and proper hand washing with soap and water,  we also call for objectiveness in voting during elections.

“Having seen that the current APC government is no better than the past PDP governments we chastised, we advise Nigerians to make concerted effort to end the perennial health and economic sufferings we have been subjected to by looking beyond ethnicity, tribe, religion and political affiliations and objectively root, in future elections, for pragmatic and selfless leaders whose antecedents testify of their possession of the will power to overhaul our health system, stop medical tourism and turn around our economy – the statement concluded. 
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Friday, 5 January 2018

EXCLUSION OF NURSE INTERNS FROM INTERNSHIP ADVERTS: UGONSA REPORTS UNTH AND FMC OWERRI TO MINISTER OF HEALTH

The Honourable Minister of Health,
Federal Ministry of Health,
New Federal Secretariat Complex,
Phase III, Ahmadu Bello Way,
Central Business District,
P.M.B 083,
Garki, Abuja, Nigeria.

Attention:    Director, Human Resources,
                      & Director, Hospital Services,
Federal Ministry of Health,
New Federal Secretariat Complex,
Phase III, Ahmadu Bello Way,
Central Business District,
P.M.B 083,
Garki, Abuja, Nigeria.
Sir,
DISCRIMINATION AGAINST NURSES BY THE MANAGEMENT OF UNTH AND FMC OWERRI: AN URGENT APPEAL FOR YOUR KIND INTERVENTION

The University Graduates of Nursing Science Association (UGONSA), the professional association of nurses with a minimum qualification of first degree in Nursing Science, wishes you a happy New Year.
  1.  We write to draw your kind attention to the gross injustice, discrimination and wanton marginalization of nurses by the management of University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH), Ituku-Ozalla, Enugu and that of Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Owerri.
  2.  The two hospitals had on 25th October and 24th November, 2017 respectively, made adverts for placement of interns. These adverts however, selectively excluded nurse interns from the categories of internship positions advertised which listed interns of all other core healthcare professions for whom a one year internship training, like in nursing, forms a compulsory and integral part of their training.
  3.  We were appalled by the selective discrimination so we wrote them on 6th December, 2017 vide our letter Ref No. UGONSA/017/CMD/UNTH/01 and UGONSA/017/CMD/FMCO/01, calling for rectification of the anomaly in case it had been an unfortunate error. We wonder what nurses have done wrong that would warrant the selective exclusion of their intending interns from running internship training which, like that of the other healthcare professions that were advertised, was also approved by the National Universities Commission (NUC), National Council on Establishment (NCE) and the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) as well as the statutory regulatory body (for nursing in Nigeria .i.e. the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria).
  4.   Since we wrote them over the ugly development, the managements of these two hospitals have surprisingly maintained a loud silence on the issue. This deafening silence has eroded all our benefits of doubt and rather reinforced our speculation that it may be a continuation of the oppressive sentiments against nurses that have become the characteristic stock-in-trade of the chief executive officers of some government owned hospitals.
  5.    By denying nursing the opportunity to run internship programme for its fresh graduates in their facilities, the management of UNTH and FMC Owerri are toying with and jeopardizing the future of hundreds of fresh graduate nurses whose full registration and licensure by the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria are tied to internship training. They are also robbing the country of the opportunity of producing qualified manpower needed to drive effective care delivery in our health system especially as nurses are the first and the last line of defence for patients in any healthcare delivery system in the world.
  6.  Most especially, they are breaching the constitution of the land by discriminating against their fellow Nigerians on the basis of their chosen professional career, which is recognized as a noble career by the law of the land.
  7.  It is instructive to point out that these hospitals have also refused to effect the proper placement of graduate nurses under their employ despite calling their attention to the Federal Ministry of Health’s circular, Ref No. C.6093/T/13 dated 19th June, 2017, which recommended such (refers) following the circular from the office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation (HOCSF), Ref No. HSCF/EPO/EIR/CND/S.100/ST/97dated 8th September, 2016 that granted internship training for fresh graduate nurses.
  8.   The above mentioned act, coupled with the latest issue of exclusion of nursing from their internship adverts, portends that progressive and developmental efforts pertaining to nursing are in trouble in UNTH and FMC Owerri. Hence our outcry for your kind intervention!
PRAYER
In the light of the foregoing we passionately appeal for your urgent intervention in mandating the managements of UNTH, Ituku-Ozalla and FMC Owerri to
  1.   make a supplementary advert placement for the post of nurse interns to give nurses a sense of belonging, give fresh graduate nurses opportunity to get internship training for full registration and licensure as was done for their counterparts in other core healthcare disciplines, and foster equity and fairness.
  2.    upgrade any nurse with a minimum of first degree in nursing, serving under their  institutions, who is still on CONHESS 07 (GL 08), expressly to CONHESS 08 (GL09) with effective date of 8th September, 2016 (being the date of release of the circular Ref No.Ref No. HSCF/EPO/EIR/CND/S.100/ST/97 by the office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation), with due arrears paid in full to all the affected nursing officers.
  3. consider the nascence of internship training for the graduates of B.N.Sc degree as a ground for recruiting nurse interns in large and considerable numbers. 
  4.   respect the extant laws, rules and regulations by giving the fresh graduate nurses similar internship opportunity that was given to their counterparts in other core healthcare disciplines to foster their full registration and licensure by the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria and help the country with qualified manpower needed to drive effective care delivery in our health system.
We also request that you kindly make a memo directing all CMDs/MDs to implement in their respective facilities the nurse’s internship and proper placement of already employed graduate nurses who are still below the new base for entry of graduate nurses [i.e. Grade Level 09 (CONHESS 08)] into the civil service. This is to forestall a repeat of this ugly incidence that happened in UNTH and FMC Owerri from repeating in other healthcare centres.
    
Please kindly accept the assurances of our esteemed regards!

                                                           Signed

Chief (Hon) S.E.O. EGWUENU                                                  Nurse G.I. Nshi

     National President                                                                     National Secretary
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Monday, 25 December 2017

UGONSA FELICITAES WITH NURSES AT CHRISTMAS

The University Graduates of Nursing Science Association (UGONSA) has eulogized the selfless efforts of nurses in care of mankind.

In a Christmas and New Year message jointly signed by its National President, Chief (Hon). S.E.O Egwuenu, and its National Secretary, Nur. G.I. Nshi, the association described nurses as the indefatigable “first and last line of defence” for patients.

The message reads, “It is said that one who saves a life is a hero. Nurses save millions of lives. Therefore, nurses are super heroes.

“Even though our efforts are downplayed by the very society we sacrifice all to serve and protect, we should take pride in the fact that our work is noble, virtuous and knowledge-based and without us no meaningful success is achieved in care delivery at all levels of healthcare, anywhere in the world.
“As we celebrate Christmas and prepare to journey through year 2018, it’s good we remind ourselves that we also contribute to the reason our giant strides are downplayed by the society.

“We have not sufficiently propagated our crucial roles in care delivery to the public through effective public relations. Nobody can do that better than us!

“We therefore implore nurses to acquaint themselves with the tenets of public relations in nursing practice and market nursing as the good and indispensable product that it is, everywhere, everyday and every time.

It is time to speak, preach and elaborate our indefatigable roles as the first and last line of defence for mankind in care delivery, in health and in illness.


As we welcome 2018, another great year of expected great achievements, we wish to remind nurses that we are ambassadors of the profession anywhere we are and as ambassadors must make sure we radiate the best of what the profession stands for to our environment- the message said.
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Wednesday, 6 December 2017

UGONSA WRITES UNTH ON EXCLUSION OF NURSE INTERNS FROM INTERNSHIP ADVERT

The Chief Medical Director,
University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, 
Ituku-Ozalla, Enugu State, Nigeria.

Attention:
Head of Nursing Services,
University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, 
Ituku-Ozalla, Enugu State, Nigeria.

Sir/Madam, 

INTERNSHIP AND PROPER PLACEMENT OF GRADUATE NURSES 

The University Graduates of Nursing Science Association (UGONSA) also known as Graduate Nurses Association of Nigeria (GNAN), a professional association for all nurses with a minimum qualification of first degree in Nursing, brings you her nightingales’ greeting.

2. With reference to the above subject matter, we wish to bring to your esteemed attention that this association, in a letter Ref No. UGONSA/017/FMOH/01 dated 6th February, 2017, wrote the Federal Ministry of Health and the ministry, in her response (Ref no. C.6093/T/13 dated 19th June, 2017) confirmed that all existing Nursing Officers who are still on CONHESS 07 (.i.e Grade Level 08) should be moved to the new base [.i.e. CONHESS 08 (Grade Level 09)] and that seniority on this new post should be effective from 8th September, 2016 (please refer Annexure A), being the date of release of the circular, Ref No. HSCF/EPO/EIR/CND/S.100/ST/97, by the office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation (HCSF) (please refer Annexure B).

3. Consequently, we apply that any nurse with a minimum of first degree in nursing, serving under your institution, who is still on CONHESS 07 (GL 08), be expressly upgraded to CONHESS 08 (GL09) with effective date of 8th September, 2016.

4. We equally ask that due arrears from this effective date of 8th September, 2016 be paid to all the affected nursing officers.

5. We also observed that the post of nurse intern was omitted from the current internship advert placement made by UNTH. We wish to assume that such omission might not be deliberate and therefore respectfully call your attention to the fact that Federal Government has approved and granted internship training for graduates of Bachelor of Nursing Science (B.N.Sc) degree as shown by the circular attached as Annexure B.

6. We also wish to call your attention to the letter from the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria (NMCN), Ref No. N&MCN/SG/RO/CIR/24/VOL.4/4, dated February 3, 2017 addressed to all Chief Medical Directors, conveying commencement of one year internship training for graduates of B.N.Sc degree (please refer Annexure C) and the accompanying implementation guide for the internship programme as released by the council (please refer Annexure D).

7. Our assumption remains that the exclusion of the post of nurse intern in your hospital's advert for internship placement that accommodated all other disciplines except nursing, may probably stem from the aforementioned and attached documents not having being made available to your office.

8. We therefore use this opportunity to formally avail the documents to your office and ask for immediate commencement of internship training for the graduates of B.N.Sc degree in UNTH by reviewing the current advert placement for interns to include the post of Nurse Intern.

PRAYER
From the foregoing, we strongly demand that

i. any nurse with a minimum of first degree in nursing, serving under your institution, who is still on CONHESS 07 (GL 08), be expressly upgraded to CONHESS 08 (GL09) with effective date of 8th September, 2016,with due arrears paid in full to all the affected nursing officers.

ii. you urgently review the current advert placement for interns by UNTH that excluded nurse interns and include the post of Nurse Interns, for equity and fairness.

iii. you consider the nascence of internship training for the graduates of B.N.Sc degree as a ground for recruiting nurse interns in large and considerable numbers.  

 Please kindly accept the assurances of our esteemed regards! 

Signed


Chief (Hon) S.E.O. Egwuenu                                                                    Nurse G.I. Nshi
     National President                                                                                     National Secretary

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Monday, 4 December 2017

UGONSA FELICITATES WITH ASSEMBLY OF MEN IN NURSING AND MIDWIFERY (NIGERIA)

The University Graduates of Nursing Science Association (UGONSA), the professional association of nurses with a minimum qualification of first degree in Nursing Science, has felicitated with the newly inaugurated Assembly of Men in Nursing and Midwifery (Nigeria).

In a joint statement by its National President, Chief (Hon.) S.E.O. Egwuenu, and National Secretary, Nur. G.I. Nshi, the association described the inauguration of the Assembly as a new dawn in the profession in Nigeria.

The statement read, “UGONSA is very pleased with the noble birth of a parliament for men in Nursing and Midwifery. Being the minority group in the profession, men deserve an Assembly that discusses and projects its issues and interest.

”A lot of gaps are yet to be filled in professional affairs of Nursing and Midwifery in Nigeria. It is interesting and commendable that men in the profession realized this and have come together to help out through the auspices of the Assembly.

”UGONSA advises the Assembly of Men in Nursing and Midwifery (Nigeria) to be all encompassing, even as it advocates for fair and equitable representation of men, to also carry the women along and focus more on neglected areas such as peace and conflict resolution, research, professionalism and refashioning the profession to proactively race ahead in strategic directions.

UGONSA pledged its support to the Assembly and called on all nurses and midwives, especially the men, to show more than a passing interest and strong support to the newly inaugurated Assembly to enhance elaboration of its visionary mission for betterment of the profession. It equally thanked all that worked tirelessly to make the inauguration of the Assembly a realized dream.


”We sincerely appreciate the American Association of Men in Nursing (AAMN), the LAMP AFRICA, the LEAD NURSE AFRICA, the Nizamiye Hospital, Abuja, and all other groups and individuals that selflessly mobilized their resources to make this epoch history of birth of Assembly of Men in Nursing and Midwifery in Nigeria- the association said
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Wednesday, 11 October 2017

AJIMOBI TO NURSES - YOUR CALLING IS FOR SERVICE TO HUMANITY

The Governor of Oyo State, His Excellency Governor AbiolaAjimobi, has hailed nurses for their efforts in caring for the sick.

 Flagging off the event of the 18th National Professional Conference and Scientific Update of the University Graduates of Nursing Science Association (UGONSA) at University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, the Governor, who was represented by his deputy, His Excellency Otunba Moses Alake Adeyemo, extolled the virtues of nurses and their selfless efforts in caring for those burdened by diseases and illnesses.

He however frowned at incessant industrial actions by healthcare providers as witnessed in our healthcare delivery system.

According to him; “The oath of allegiance to humanity, which healthcare providers swore to, demands that the patient’s plight or interest should be put above everything. When healthcare practitioners abandon work for strikes, the patient suffers.

“And the patient is no other person than all of us. Nurses and other healthcare providers should know that their calling is for selfless service to humanity and therefore should endeavor to dwell in the spirit of this calling no matter how daunting the exigent challenges might be.

While government is doing its best to address the challenges facing the health system, the care providers should show understanding and know that we are all partners in progress and our collective objective and mandate is to keep our people healthy and happy - he said.

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WHAT NIGERIA MUST DO TO MAKE OUR HEALTHCARE SYSTEM COUNT AMONG THE BEST IN THE WORLD – DON

Dr. Saleh N. Garba, a member of the board of Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria, has given advice on what must be done to make the Nigerian healthcare delivery system great again.

Delivering the keynote address at the event of the 18th National Professional Conference and Scientific Update of the University Graduates of Nursing Science Association (UGONSA) at University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, the don identified quackery and poor remuneration of healthcare professionals as the bane of our healthcare system.  

He said: “Bringing the hammer hard on quacks and quackery with every sense of seriousness and implementing a non-dicriminatory welfare and emolument package for healthcare professionals is necessary to put our health system on the path of greatness again. 

“As a nurse and a member of the Nursing Council’s board, I have personally made a critical study of the establishment Act of the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria and found out that in the fight against quackery in Nursing and Midwifery practice, the established legal framework for Nursing education and practice is rather a critical enabler of quackery than a deterrent.

“The provisions of the Act regarding punishment for offences such as unauthorized practice without registration, employment of an unregistered person to practice as nurse or midwife and forgery of the council’s documents such as practicing license need to be thoroughly reviewed and strictly implemented.

“First the Act in its Section 20 stated that the Courts where cases of quackery should be tried are those lower than the High Court, which in my humble understanding can be magistrate or customary court. 

“Secondly, the Act prescribed the penalty for those tried and convicted of quackery as a fine not exceeding N1000 (one thousand naira) for individuals or N2000 (two thousand naira) for corporate bodies or a prison term not exceeding 2 years. 

“The term “not exceeding”, as far as I am concerned, is a caricature and mockery of the fight against quackery because it creates obvious loop holes that have been perennially exploited by offenders and trial judges. An amount not exceeding N2000 or N1000 as the case may be can be one naira or fifty kobo and a duration not exceeding 2 years can be 30 seconds or one hour, depending on the discretion of the trial judge. In my opinion, the act needs to be reviewed so that stiffer punishment will be introduced to meet the exigency of time. This will improve the quality of nursing services in the country since nurses are the single largest, most visible and most effective health personnel in all health care facilities. 

“Unlike the developed world where cases of quackery are given wider publicity and tried in a higher court, here, quackery (a crime against humanity, whose punishment should be commensurate and hefty) is not considered grievous enough to deserve trial at our high courts despite that quacks, through malpractices and medical errors, kill and maim Nigerians every day.

“The slap-on-the-wrist punishments prescribed by the Act have emboldened defaulters to keep defaulting. Little wonder most Private Hospitals and Churches have continued to constitute themselves into quack breeding centres with unbridled impunity.

The don, who is also Head of the Department of Nursing Sciences of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, also harped on poor remuneration of healthcare professionals as another key factor that has contributed to keeping our health system below average.

“In developed health systems, which our political leaders patronize in their escalating medical tourism, private hospitals are the key drivers of care delivery. Yet you are unlikely to find any private hospital that enlists the services of a quack. However, here in Nigeria, most private hospitals, in trying to save cost and maximize profits, enlist the services of quacks, who are dubiously branded as ‘auxiliary Nurses’, to the detriment of qualitative care and client safety. Just as there is nothing like ‘auxiliary Doctor’, there is also nothing like ‘auxiliary Nurse’. 

Every year our best brains and highly skilled healthcare professionals migrate to foreign countries in search of better emoluments and welfare packages. Funny enough, the millions we refused to spend on their remunerations here to develop our own health system in turn leaves our coffers as billions annually in medical tourism to the advantage of foreign countries that have their health systems in good order. 

The don concluded by calling on the National Assembly to urgently review the establishment Act of the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria and make its bite on quackery harsh enough to serve as a potent deterrent. He also called on the Federal and State governments to take the issues of welfare and remunerations of healthcare professionals paramount to avert the sporadic industrial actions frequently witnessed in our healthcare system such as the one recently suspended by the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) and that currently embarked on by a coalition of healthcare professionals under the umbrella of Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU).



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