Nurses have sought inclusion in policy formulation and implementation, as well as massive investment in workforce, to prevent shortage of about 4.6 million professionals globally by 2030.
They made the appeal, yesterday, at the 15th yearly scientific conference of the Directorate of Nursing Services, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), organised in collaboration with Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria in Lagos.
The theme of the four-day conference is: “Nurses, A Voice To Lead: Invest in Nursing and Respect Rights to Secure Global Health.”
Dean, Department of Nursing Sciences, Babcock University, Prof. Olanrewaju Sowunmi, urged effective organisational support that fosters quality care, provision of enabling environment and retention of nurses to check burnout, brain drain and attrition rates.
She also stressed the need for continuous education, training, practice, provision of IT compatible environment and quick response environment in emergencies/pandemics, improved remuneration, career progression and active participation in decision-making.
According to her, there is a global shortage of nurses and midwives, who represent more than 50 per cent of the current shortfall of health workers.
She said nurses suffered tremendously throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and had been unnecessarily exposed to the virus, faced attacks from the public, suffered from extreme workloads and had continued to be underpaid and undervalued.
“Nurses play a critical role in health promotion, disease prevention and delivering of tertiary, secondary and primary health, including emergency care, and it is pivotal to the achievement of universal health coverage,” she said.
Also, Head of Department, Nursing, LASUTH, Adebola Aina, said it is necessary for people to know the important roles nurses play in the society, as they face challenges limiting their work environment and promoting brain drain in the healthcare system.
She acknowledged shortage of nurses at the bedside with great numbers relocating and retiring from service, creating room for unqualified personnel to hold sway.
Aina commended management of LASUTH for demonstrating commitment towards increased investment and practice in a manner worthy of emulation by stakeholders across and beyond the state.
Earlier, Chief Medical Director (CMD), Prof. Adetokunbo Fabamwo, expressed hope that the brain drain syndrome was surmountable, having got attention of government and relevant stakeholders.
He said that government was taking far-reaching measures to retain workforce and make the environment friendlier.
Fabamwo noted that the Lagos State government had commenced extensive work in rehabilitating, expanding, upgrading and renovating facilities in LASUTH to admit more patients and ensure members of staff work comfortably