By Tobias Lengnan Dapam
President Muhammadu Buhari has restated his administration’s commitment to provide better healthcare for all Nigerians.
He added that his Next Level agenda will focus on healthcare for all Nigerians as the basis of its human capital development efforts.
The President stated this on Thursday at the official launch of the ‘Nursing Now’ campaign, held in Abuja to mainstream the involvement of nurses in policy-making activities of government in the heath sector.
Buhari, who recounted the progress his administration has made towards bringing healthcare closer to the people, said the nation cannot achieve greatness without making health a priority.
He said, “My administration places priority on the health of citizens as a cornerstone of human capital development. Therefore, we will ensure healthcare is positioned as the focus of our Next Level agenda.
“I am pleased to say we have made progress with the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund, and our commitment is now attracting support from donors and development partners.”
Represented by Osagie Ehanire, the Minister of Health, President Buhari also said the Federal Government will continue to support nurses and midwives in the country to remain faithful to the values of their profession.
He called on nurses, midwives, and all health professionals to work together to protect and restore the well-being and health of Nigerians; saying, “no nation can achieve greatness, if the people are not healthy.”
Speaking also, the President of Nigeria Labour Congress, Ayuba Wabba advocated the removal of regulatory barriers to the upward mobility of nurses and midwives in the healthcare system.
He lamented that many of them were stunted in their careers, despite attaining Doctoral and Professorial status in key areas of specialisation.
Similarly, Comrade Rafiu Adeniji, the President of National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives, NANNM; identified shortage of manpower, inadequate training institutions, and insecurity as part of the challenges hindering the effective practice of nursing and midwifery in the country.
He said, “In most hospitals, when there are terror attacks, nurses are the first victims. Many abducted nurses and midwives are still held captives by terrorists and bandits, but focus is not placed on them.
“While we lament shortage of manpower, there is no doubt that attacks on health facilities negatively impacts the morale of nurses and midwives.”
Adeniji, however, described the ‘Nursing Now’ campaign as step in the right direction towards addressing these challenges as it promotes the involvement of nurses and midwives not only as clinicians but as health policy formulators and implementors.