The leadership of the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) has decried the rising cases of health workers testing positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country.
The President of the association, Mr Abdurafiu Adeniji, stated this at a press conference on Friday in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
According to him, data from the NANNM COVID-19 Situation Report Room reveals that hundreds of members of the union have been exposed to COVID-19.
Adeniji said, “Almost 1,000 nurses and midwives have been exposed to coronavirus, out of which about 250 are currently on isolation and about 85 out of about 600 have tested positive.
“Over 2,000 Nigerian healthcare professionals, especially nurses and doctors have tested positive to COVID-19 while about 15 healthcare professionals have lost their lives.”
He attributed the rising cases of coronavirus infection among nurses and midwives to the lack of adequate knowledge on how to use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) while attending to infected patients.
The NANNM president also lamented that the nation’s healthcare system has been overstretched and on the verge of being overwhelmed.
He stressed that the present situation should be seen as an unusual opportunity for the government to increase investment in the nursing and midwifery profession.
Adeniji also urged the members of the union, especially those on the frontline to ensure their personal safety while carrying out their duties.
He said, “The hazards being confronted by nurses and midwives are enormous and they are being unduly exposed to this virus.
“The WHO prescription is 40 nurses per 100,000 population, but Nigeria is operating five-six nurses to 100,000 population.”
“There are evidence of lack of adequate awareness and knowledge of the nature and transmission of COVID-19 disease, there is equally lack of adequate knowledge on the use of PPE and sometimes, infectious diseases principle and protocol are being violated by some health care frontline professionals,” he added.
The press briefing was organised in commemoration of the 2020 International Nurses Week entitled, ‘Nurses: A Voice to Lead-Nursing the World to Health’.