The Bayelsa Chapter of the National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) on Monday lamented acute shortage of manpower in the state.Mrs Sonia Andabai, the state Chairman of NANNM, who disclosed this in a chat with newsmen in Yenagoa on Monday, said the rural areas were the most affected.
According to Andabai, the total number of nurses in the state is about 400, which is grossly inadequate to meet the health care needs of Bayelsa residents.
She noted that the situation had led to overworking of the few nurses in the hospitals in the state.
Andabai frowned on the inadequate number of public nurses to man the various primary health care centres in the rural communities.
She called on the government to employ more nurses as well as to keep to its promise to build health centres in all the 105 wards of the state.
The NANNM chairman also expressed dissatisfaction over the non-payment of allowances of nurses including the 2014 call-duty allowance rate.
The delay, she said, was regrettable in spite of the series of letters written to the Head of Service for upward review and implementation.
Andabai appealed to the Bayelsa government to correct the grade levels of graduate nurses employed in 2017 that were mistakenly placed on grade level 8 COAS 7.
She said they were supposed to be placed on level 9 COAS 8.
Andabai said the demand was in accordance with a Federal Government circular.
She urged the state government to review the employments and place them on their rightful grade levels.
Andabai commended the Duoye-led administration for the timely payment of salaries which had greatly boosted the morale of workers.
She appealed to the state government to revisit the 50 per cent payment of basic salaries of health workers during the three months of the COVID-19 lockdown as done by the Federal Government.
Andabai noted that the association had a smooth working relationship with nurses as issues bordering on the welfare of members were handled with utmost priority.
She explained that plans were underway by the executive to build a befitting permanent office for the association and called for members’ support and cooperation.
Dr Newton Igwele, Bayelsa State Commissioner for Health, assured the association that the state government remained committed to addressing all the challenges facing them.