In a letter Ref No. UG/NAT/21/FMOL&E/01 dated 31st March, 2021, the University Graduates of Nursing Science Association (UGONSA) has written the Honourable Minister of Labour & Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, demanding that nurses’ hazard allowance should be at least two folds more than what is payable to other members of the healthcare team. Below is the full text of the letter:
EQUITABLE ADJUSTMENT OF HEALTH WORKERS’ HAZARD ALLOWANCE REQUIRES THAT RATE SHOULD BE PRORATED TO THE DEGREE AND LEVEL OF EXPOSURE TO HEALTHCARE-RELATED HAZARDS
Easter greetings from the members of the University Graduates of Nursing Science Association (UGONSA).
- We write to commend your ongoing effort at ensuring that our age-long cry for the review of the health workers’ hazard allowance is addressed by President Muhammadu Buhari’s regime.
- However, we call for equity in the adjustment of the hazard allowance such that the template for the upward review of the hazard allowance shall be prorated on the level of exposure to clinical hazards.
- It is incontrovertible that nurses are the single most exposed group to healthcare-related hazards among the healthcare professionals. Nurses stay round-the-clock at the patients’ bedside and thus, have the highest exposure to healthcare-related hazards among the healthcare team members. Since the care of mankind has been entrusted to nurses, they must be adequately compensated and motivated to carry out this task effectively and efficiently.
- For the umpteenth time, we wish to re-emphasize that the current N5000 (five thousand naira) payable to nurses, who swim in an ocean of hazards, as hazard allowance epitomizes insensitivity on the side of the government and shows a lack of commitment or the political will to reposition our healthcare system for efficient service delivery.
- Globally, the performances of healthcare systems are proportional to the level of welfare and motivation advanced to nurses. Nursing is the cornerstone upon which care is anchored in the healthcare delivery system. Nurses are to the healthcare system what mothers are to the family. Any family in which the mother is empowered is eternally progressive but families where mothers are subjugated and trampled upon (as done to nurses in the Nigeria health system) never make any inch of progress. This explains why the Nigeria health system is almost the ‘first from behind’ in the ranking of the world’s performing and responsive health systems.
- Every progressive health system understands that nursing is the heartbeat of healthcare and thus gives premium to the welfare and well-being of nurses to keep afloat a motivated workforce for efficient service delivery. We cannot do less than joining the league of the progressive health system at this auspicious moment. It is better late than never!
- A reviewed hazard allowance equitably configured to reflect the level of exposure to clinical hazards such that nurses “who are exposed the most are paid the most” will motivate nurses and oil their latitude to meeting the increasing complexities of health needs of Nigerians, which nurses are in the frontline to drive.
- Medical tourism by Nigerians, including our elected officials, will end the day our government starts placing premium on the welfare of nurses and the way they are remunerated. This is because, with a motivated nursing workforce, we stand to get in Nigerian hospitals what is obtainable in high-ranking hospitals elsewhere.
- Having been adrift from the best practices of building a motivated nursing workforce over the years, it is high to return our health system to the pathway of superlative performance engineered by a motivated nursing workforce. Although there is a long way to go in achieving this, the government can kick start the move with the hazard allowance by ensuring that the nurses who get the lion share of exposure to clinical hazards equally get the lion share of the payable hazard allowance.
- The motivation should be visible and palpable such that nurses’ hazard allowance should be at least two folds more than what is payable to other members of the healthcare team.
CHIEF (HON.) S.E.O. EGWUENU NURSE P.O. ETENG
National President Ag.National Secretary