Concerns over exposure of Nigerian health personnel to COVID-19

* Over 2,000 healthcare professionals tested positive, 15 dead ─NANNM President

* Says 250 nurses, midwives currently in isolation

* Inadequate knowledge of use of PPEs a major factor

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Apparently concerned about some of the nation’s frontline healthcare workers who must have been exposed to COVID-19 pandemic in the line duty, the leadership of the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) has decried the rising cases of health workers’ testing positive for Coronavirus in the country.

Mr. Abdurafiu Adeniji, President of NANNM, disclosed this at a press conference in Abuja, FCT, Friday, May 15.

It was learnt that the body organised the briefing in commemoration of the 2020 International Nurses Week titled: “Nurses: A Voice to Lead-Nursing the World to Health”.

Adeniji said based on data from the NANNM COVID-19 Situation Report Room, hundreds of members of the association have got exposed to COVID-19 virus.

“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.”

NANNM President attributed the increasing cases of COVID-19 infections among nurses and midwives to the lack of adequate knowledge on how to use Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) while attending to infected patients.

He as well lamented that Nigeria’s healthcare system is overstretched, and on the verge of being overwhelmed.

The present situation should be regarded as an opportunity for the government to increase investment in the nursing and midwifery profession in the country, he said.

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 PPEs and sometimes, infectious diseases principle and protocol are being violated by some health care frontline professionals.”

Recall that ConsumerConnect recently reported a similar situation in the United States (US) where COVID-19 pandemic has infected far more than 1 million Americans, especially nurses working on the frontlines with “little protective support”.

The concerned health professionals in the US had stated that they were ill-equipped and unable to fight the disease, and that they feared for not only their own safety but also that of their families.

Many of these nurses, who have faced backlash for quitting, said new Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) protocols had made them feel expendable.

They purported that the CDC had not kept their safety in mind, leaving them no choice but to walk away from a job they loved.

“We’re not cannon fodder; we’re human beings,” stated the American healthcare workers.

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