The Bayelsa chapter of National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) on Monday lamented the acute shortage of nurses in the state.
They noted that the dearth of nurses has grossly hampered the achievement of the SDGs goal three which is healthcare delivery to the doorsteps of the people.
Mrs. Sonia Andabai, State Chairman of NANNM who disclosed this in a chat with newsmen in Yenagoa, said that the rural areas were more affected.
According to Andabai, the total number of nurses in the state is about 400 which is grossly inadequate to meet the health needs of Bayelsan residents.
She noted that the situation was so bad that some hospitals are being served by only one nurse while others by two nurses leading to overworking the available nurses in the state.
She frowned at the inadequate number of public health nurses to man the various primary healthcare centres in the rural communities.
She called on the state government to employ more nurses as well as keep to its promise to build health centres in all the 105 wards of the state.
The NANNM chairman while highlighting the challenges faced by the association, expressed dissatisfaction over the non payment of allowances of nurses including the 2014 call-duty Allowance rate spelt out in a circular.
The delay, she said, is regrettable in spite of a series of letters written to the Head of Service for upward review and implementation.
Andabai appealed to the state government to correct the grade levels of graduate nurses employed in 2017 that were mistakenly placed on grade level 8 COAS 7 instead of level 9 COAS 8.
She said the demand was in accordance with the FG circular, urging the state governments to review the employment and place them on their rightful grade levels.
She commended the Gov. Duoye Dir-led administration for the timely payment of salaries which has greatly boosted the morale of workers.
The union leader, however, pleaded with the state government to revisit the issue of the payment of 50% of basic salary of health workers for three months during the COVID-19 lockdown period as done by the federal government.
Andabai noted that the association has a smooth working relationship with nurses and enjoys their support as issues bothering on the welfare of members are handled with utmost dispatch.
She explained that plans are underway by the executive to build a befitting permanent office for the association and called for members support and cooperation.