“I am not anxious to be the loudest voice or the most popular. But I would like to think that at a crucial moment, I was an effective voice of the voiceless, an effective hope of the hopeless.” Whitney M. Young Jr.
Since the outbreaks of the COVID-19, NMA has been communicating with the public as well as the community of doctors under them. For example, March 28, 2020, in reaction to the offers by the United States of America for medical personnel to come and assist in tackling the novel coronavirus disease by reducing traveling bureaucracy, making it easier for medical personnel to travel to the United States, NMA implored Nigeria doctors to give taking the offers a deeper thought.
Previously, NMA had provided information to the public on the current situation and capacity of doctors in Nigeria in managing the situation. They have also been seen on TV, newspapers etc., talking about the virus, they had urged their colleagues who were on strike in some units to resume back to work so as to strengthen the hospital in preparing for COVID-19.
As a nurse, under a professional body in Nigeria, you must have been wondering if NANNM really cares about the nurses in the country, you marvel if they understand their roles in Nigeria health care system.
Historically, National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) is known to be vocal, proactive and reactive, but little or nothing has been heard from them at this moment. As an association that is closer to nurses, we expect them to provide guidelines and updates, create a surveillance team to educate and identify nurses that are at risk especially those that work in infectious disease hospitals and isolation centres, so as to provide support and speak for them to ensure they are provided with adequate PPEs and commendable incentives for their work in this time of distress.
At a time when the whole world is battling with this pandemic, there are reported cases of death of nurses globally, according to The Guardian, more than 5000 medical personnel, including nurses had died in Italy as at 26th of March, 2020. There are increasing reported cases of nurses testing positive to the disease, some are reported dead in USA due to the infection.
On 28th of March 2020, Sahara Reporters reported that 2 nurses tested positive to the COVID-19. Beside the deaths that were reported, nurses all over the world are faced with psychological fear, anxiety and increasing stress.
You will expect the national bodies of nurses and midwives to develop strategies to support the nation in this challenging period, you will expect NMCN & NANNM to periodically communicate to nurses and the public on daily updates about the disease, welfare packages and reinforcement of measures to protect themselves using both traditional and social media outlets.
I checked through Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria website since the outbreak of the disease, there is no single post that can educate anyone that visits the site about the disease. It seems all they are concerned about is how to make money for their purse.
When NMA members were reacting to the invite by the USA for Nigeria medical personnel to assist in USA, the association implored the government to motivate doctors to stay in the country by providing a more conducive environment, which includes increase allowances amongst others. you would expect the nursing association to make statements and to liaise with state and federal government on how to support nurses and inform them on the latest happenings.
Sadly, NANNM are still far from doing the needful, maybe they are unaware of the current situation, perhaps they are aware, but they never knew they have responsibility suggested above and many more.
I hereby implore our leaders to do the needful at this crucial time, there are some works from NANNM, they need to increase their work and also increase publicity.
NMA are not speaking for all health workers, they represent the nation’s doctors, if all the citizens are clamoring for the president to address the nation at a stage, NANNM should also know that there is need to address the nation’s nurses. Nobody expects you to announce the cure for the disease, but show care for the nurses, it motivates the nurses wherever they are.
We want to hear from you, not just passing circular around, hoping all the nurses in the country will see it. For some nurses that work in private organizations, there is need to build relationships with them, speak to the nation, let the citizens hear from you, let the newspapers in the country carry a press statement from you, SAY SOMETHING, you cannot afford to be invisible in time of crisis and expect to be appreciated.
You cannot be invisible in time of crisis and you become visible when you need help from the government.
I implore NANNM to develop a special task team, to educate and inform nurses in their respective states and units, to identify nurses working in isolation centers and ensure they are provided with adequate PPEs. Those nurses should also be routinely counseled, motivated and engaged, so as to ensure they are psychologically taken care of.
“And even when they refuse to listen, I’ll keep talking anyway, hoping on a slim chance that the things inside my head are worth something to someone.” Nadège Richards
Writen by Nurse Oyelakin Oluwatosin E.