Thursday, 4 June 2020

OBSERVATIONS OF CONTAINMENT EFFORTS TOWARDS COVID - 19 PANDEMIC IN NIGERIA BY UGONSA NORTHERN ZONE






The University Graduate of Nursing Sciences Association (UGONSA) Northern zone, an umbrella body of all graduates of nursing sciences in Nigeria has observed with keen interest activities of Governments, Non-Governmental organisations, organized private sector and individuals channeled towards the fight against COVID-19 and wish to observe as follows:


1  1. The actions of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) against COVID-19 as set up by President Muhammadu Buhari and headed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Gida Mustapha, deserves commendation and support from all well-meaning Nigerians. The pattern of daily update on the situation is admirable to say the least.

2   2. Our association reckon that the Nigerian Centre for disease control (NCDC) has been on top of the situation right from inception providing expert leadership in containing the situation. Our association acknowledge and appreciate the NCDC for establishing and accrediting more testing centres within the northern geopolitical zones in the country which has scaled up testing and identification of cases.

3   3. We equally appreciate the efforts of the Northern State Governments in this fight against the dreaded COVID-19 and urge them to double their efforts to effectively manage the established isolation centres by enforcing the relevant laws in place meant to check the spread of the disease.

4   4. UGONSA northern zone registers its appreciation to Governors that have demonstrated uncommon concern for welfare of health workers and relatively safe practice environments especially to nurses who risk their lives daily through the provision of personal protective equipment’s (PPEs) and motivation welfare packages to appreciate and encourage more of their altruistic sacrifices.

5  5. While we commend the recent decision by the Federal Government to review the hazard allowances of health workers for three months with effect from March 2020. UGONSA wishes to observe that the disparity in the application of the same percentage of consolidated salary across board obviously short-changed nurses who in reality face the greatest clinical hazard risk among the healthcare team due to their closest round-the-clock proximity to patients. UGONSA, therefore, calls for an immediate review of the wage package as well as the condition of service for nurses at the State and Federal level because they remain the least paid and the lowest placed in the civil service among the healthcare professionals despite that they are the heartbeat and the soul of the healthcare delivery system who centrally coordinate the activities of the patients and other healthcare team members.

6    6. UGONSA calls on State Governors to emulate the Federal Government and improve on the incentives of health workers especially for the nurses who are the main frontliners.

7   7.  UGONSA is worried by the avoidable disagreements between some Northern Governors and health workers over PPEs and welfare packages that have led to strikes and calls on the Governors especially those of Plateau and Kaduna States to prioritize the health of their citizens by taking decisive actions to motivate health workers and avoid situations that precipitate health workers’ strikes while promptly initiating swift actions to dialogue with the striking health workers.

8   8. Our professional association reminds Governments and nurses of their primary purpose which is the health and security of the poor masses and call for more actions on the health and security of the nation.

9  9. UGONSA observes that there are still significant gaps in the provision of PPEs and safe working environment and strongly appeal to the various State Governments to address these gaps to protect frontline workers especially nurses who play the role of infantry soldiers in this COVID-19 war by making the provision of PPEs constant and regular.  

    10.  Although the northern states have their peculiar challenges, UGONSA observes the significant gaps in policy direction between some northern states and the federal government. The association calls on State Governments to measure up in keeping a unified policy direction with the federal government through the PTF in the protection of citizens and frontline health workers against the dreaded disease.

      11.  UGONSA calls on the Government of Kogi State and the PTF to, in the interest of the poor masses and health workers, hastily resolve the ongoing disagreements on the Covid-19 pandemic. UGONSA particularly calls on President Muhammadu Buhari to step in to resolve the contending issues.

      12.  We strongly urge Governments to step up on facilitating local solutions for COVID-19 from our rich reserve of local traditional medicines.

    13.  As Governments gradually ease lockdowns, UGONSA beckons the general public to adhere strictly to the guidelines established by NCDC such as social distancing, use of face mask, regular hand washing and limiting movements and group gatherings so that we don’t lose the gains made in the fight against the disease.

    14.  UGONSA Northern zone hails nurses for upholding the tenets of nursing such as health promotion, illness prevention, health restoration and alleviation of suffering despite working in a very tough and challenging environment and urge them not to be tired of doing their good work to humanity.  

     15.  In conclusion, we beseech all to be patient and patriotic to our fatherland and pray to God to end the scourge of Covid-19.

Thank you and God bless us all.

                                                              Signed:

                                                                
   Nur. B.B Afoi                                                                                Nur. M.A. Garba
UGONSA President Northern Zone                                         UGONSA Secretary Northern zone

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