To enhance effective protection of healthcare workers in the raging battle against COVID-19 in the country, Professional Association of Public Health Nursing of Nigeria (PAPHNON) has given some packs of personal protective equipment to the state government.
The items presented at the Ministry of Health Wednesday were: Seven cartons of Hypo, Two cartons of latex gloves, containing 2000 pieces, 1000 pieces of facemasks, and Two cartons of hand sanitizers.
Presenting the PPEs to the trio of representative of the Permanent Secretary, Mrs Tunwase Adebowale; Director of Pharmaceutical Services, Dr Moyosore Adejumo and Director of Nursing Services, Mrs Dorcas Shonibare, the Immediate Past National Chairman, PAPHNON, Mrs Adeyemi Oluwatayo said it’s their own way of assisting the government in the management of this global pandemic.
She explained the essence of their mission was to ensure that nurses are protected, as frontline health workers in the ongoing pandemic, noting that their safety is paramount, as they care for the common man in the state, they also need to be protected.
Oluwatayo also seized the opportunity to draw the attention of the state government to the neglect of public health nursing, saying several public health nurses have retired without replacement, and this is impacting that aspect of healthcare negatively in the state.
She said: “For our impact to be felt more in the society, part of the problem is the fact that majority of the public health nurses that have retired and not replaced, we do not have new intake of public health nurses.
She continued:” Besides, for sometime now, Lagos State nurses go to Oyo state to train, and I’m sure Lagos State government does not appreciate who public health nurses are. We are versed in knowledge and lot of us in diaspora are doing very well, and I’m not sure if they are willing to return”.
Oluwatayo, further appealed to the state government to help fill the vacuum left by retired public health nurses by recruiting well-trained nurses, and create a conducive environment for public health nursing to thrive as it is done abroad.
“What bothers me most is the fact that the curriculum that is being run here is the same that is run over there abroad. When our nurse graduates from Nigeria travel outside the shores of this country, they are not expected to do any other programme not even PGD, they are sent for their MSc programme immediately”, she stated.
She hinted more about the group, saying as a specialist group of public health professionals, they belong to the Society for Public Health Professionals of Nigeria( SPHPN) which is an affiliate of Africa Federation of Public Health Professionals and also a member of the World Federation of public health professionals.
Receiving the protective materials, on behalf of the state Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, the trio of Adebowale, Adejumo and Shonibare appreciated the nurses for their efforts in helping to stop the spread of the virus in the state.
Adejumo, also assured the nurses that the government will definitely put the items into good use for the protection of healthcare workers in the state.
Fielding questions from pressmen at the presentation, Shonibare urged nurses to make their safety paramount, as frontline healthcare workers in the fight against COVID-19.
Acknowledging their essential role in the healthcare delivery system, as the only caregivers that stay with patients 24/7, she said their health conditions is very germane to the health of the nation, as their services are required to nurse the nation to health.
According to her words: Nurses are the frontline health workers in any pandemic. Other professionals only come to attend to patients and go, but it is only nurses that stay with patients 24/7 nursing them.
“My advice for nurses is that nurses should protect themselves, we always say there is no emergency in pandemic, because you must save yourself before you can save others.
“So you can imagine if I have only 30 nurses and 25 tested positive for Coronavirus, so how will I use only 5 nurses to take care of remaining patients? That is why it is important for nurses to be alive and healthy to take care of the other patients”, she submitted.