The President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Mr Ayuba Wabba, has urged the Federal Government to immediately begin the payment of hazard allowance to health workers in the country.
Wabba made the call at the 2022 annual Federal Capital Territory Nurses Week/Scientific Workshop of the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives on Thursday in Abuja.
At the workshop with the theme, “Invest in Nursing and respect rights to secure global health,” Wabba said the allowance has been reviewed but payment is yet to begin.
“Many health workers have fallen victim to diseases in taking care of patients. I salute the nurses and Midwives, your reward is not only in heaven but here on earth. I urge you to learn so you can discharge quality healthcare service to Nigerians.
“The payment of hazard allowance will boost the morale of our health workers in the country.
“The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the invaluable role of nurses,” he said while paying tribute to those who died in their bid to curtail the COVID-19 pandemic by preserving lives.
“Nurses and Midwives are smiles of life, they occupy special places in the heart of all Nigerians.
“They also occupy a very special place in the health system of every country. There will be no future in the health sector without nurses.
“You are the soul of the health system, it takes a motherly heart and compassion to be a nurse. This is the kind of heart that must define our health sector,” he said.
Wabba commended the Minister of the FCT, Malam Mohammed Bello for prompt payment of healthcare workers.
He called for improved wages for nurses saying, “A hungry worker cannot provide quality health services”.
Also speaking, Bello commended the roles nurses play in the healthcare system.
“Nurses should be seen as epitome of kindness. There is need to support and protect them in other to strengthen the health system,’ ‘Bello said.
He commended the role played by the FCT nurses in the COVID-19 pandemic saying, “For this, we remain eternally grateful.”
He said that nurses and other health workers have continued to be at the front line in fighting malaria, chicken pox and other health issues, adding that FCT would continue to support the welfare of our healthcare providers.
Also speaking, Yusuf Sununu, the Chairman, House Committee on Health Services, called for stronger relationships in the health sector among doctors and nurses, describing it as very important in achieving global health.
He expressed shock that over 1,700 nurses had left the country for what he described as greener pastures while commending those who decided to stay back and support the country’s health system.
He urged nurses to respect patients and also called on patients to reciprocate the gesture, adding that some patients frown at the behavour they experience in the hospital “and they said they will rather die at home than the hospital.”
“If we can change our attitude towards patients, it will augur well because words heal faster than medicine.
The National President of NANNM, Mr Nnachi Michael, said that the nurses were working in a very difficult environment and that is why they keep talking about brain drain.
He said if nothing was done to arrest the trend, the health sector might collapse and urged the federal government to dedicate 15 per cent of annual national budget to the health sector.
He called for compensation and remuneration for nurses in terms of welfare.
The lawmaker also called for an improved salary package for workers by giving 70 per cent of the consolidated salary to reduce the brain drain.
He said nurses are compassionate and humble, but the workload tends to affect them because they are also human beings, adding that other incentives necessary would reduce brain drain. (NAN).