Less than two Nurses to 1000 Patients, says Osigbeme, UBTH NANNM Chairman.
Nigeria has less than two nurses to 1,000 patients in her hospitals. The global outlook in terms of nurses/patients ratio is also nothing to cheer. Reeling out this rather worrisome statistics which underscore the dearth of nurses in the country in particular, and around the world in general at a rally on Tuesday to mark the international world nursing year in Benin City, Edo State capital, the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, UBTH chairman of the National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives, NANNM, Osigbeme Augustine lamented that “we count the population of the world in billions today but we have just 29.9 million nurses worldwide, and that means every nation that is a member of the World Health Organization has about three nurses to a thousand patients. In Nigeria for instance, we have about 1.5 nurses to a thousand patients. In other words, we have less than two nurses per 1,000 patients in Nigeria; so you can see that we have so small number of nurses when compared to the number of people in the nation”.
Osigbeme stated without mincing words that “in Nigeria today, there is an acute shortage of nurses. The fact is that in the critical setting of nursing, you need one nurse per four patients; but in other settings like normal wards, you need one nurse to seven patients. Now, when you have three nurses to 30 patients, it falls below expectations. So, what the United Nations has in mind is to encourage the government of the world to pay great attention to nursing as a profession so that we can build that critical part of the health sector that is the major backbone of the health industry”.
While noting that there are lots of health challenges nurses were needed to tackle being the major backbone of the health industry, Osigbeme stated that “we need over nine million nurses in the world to meet up the patient need, so the United Nations wants the world to put premium attention on the training, retraining and capacity development of nurses; that is why we are out for this rally”. He explained that the essence of declaring this year as the year of the nursing profession by WHO was to draw the attention of the world to the training and capacity building of nurses in order for the nurse to be able to meet the ever-increasing health challenges of the population of the world.
Attributing the shortage of nurses in Nigeria to brain drain, Osigbeme, therefore, urged the federal government to design a good rewarding system as a way of curbing it. In his words, “honestly, Nigeria has nurses but they keep leaving this country. In all hospitals in Nigeria, we keep losing nurses because they travel abroad in search of greener pastures and I don’t blame them because they need to meet their family’s financial obligations; so, the government needs to stop this brain drain by providing a good rewarding system”.