The National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) yesterday disclosed that about 15 health workers have lost their lives in the fight against coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country.
It revealed that over 200,000 health care professionals, especially nurses and doctors, have been exposed to COVID-19 while 70 nurses have tested positive for COVID-19 and about 200 are in isolation.
On the whole, it said that about eight doctors and 6 nurses have died from COVID-19.
The President of NANNM, Comrade Abdurafiu Adeniji, made this known at a briefing to commemorate this year’s Nurses Day in Abuja yesterday.
He noted that tension, insufficient Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), anxiety, inadequate provision of medical consumables and few life support equipment, absence of life insurance, among other things, are what health workers are perpetually grappling with as they combat the deadly virus.
He said: “Over two thousand Nigerian health care professionals, especially nurses and doctors, have been exposed to COVID-19 while about 15 health care professionals have lost their lives.
“Our health care system appears to have been over-stretched and on the verge of being overwhelmed.
“The statistics as received through NANNM COVID-19 Situation Report Room, almost one thousand nurses and midwives have been exposed to coronavirus, out which about 200 are currently on isolation and about 70 out of about 600 that have been tested have tested positive. On the whole, about six (6) nurses and midwives have lost their lives.
“There are also increase assaults on the nurses and midwives, hiding of medical/travel history as well as non-disclosure of contact with an infected individual when patient and relative present at the health care facilities.
“These further expose frontline health care professionals to infections, particularly COVID-19 in our resource constraint society.
“As we are talking, go and ask professional associations like Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), nurses, who are most affected, as at the last count, when we are saying about 15 people have died, the NMA alone was claiming 7 or 8.
“Nurses that are affected as of this morning are more than 250. This is not including the people that are in isolation.
“More than 25 per cent of the total fatality from COOVID-19 are actually health workers.
“This is not storytelling because we have lost people that trained along with us. We can give names and address for us to go and confirm, even outside the country.”
Adeniyi further stated that the Federal Government is merely paying lip service to the issue of life insurance for health workers, describing it as ‘Abracadabra’.
It therefore said that offering two million to each person as life insurance is totally unacceptable and proposed between N20m to N50m per person.
He said: “The insurance that Federal Government claimed to have put in place, I want to say unequivocally and without fear of retribution that what is on ground in Nigeria is just abracadabra.
“Some insurance companies wanted to assist Nigerian government and put this money in place. Our request is that every health worker in Nigeria should be provided for. It is the right of the government to provide for this insurance.
“People have laid down their lives and paid the supreme sacrifice and what goes to each individual is about N2 million. This is not enough to take care of the family of an individual.
“Concerning the life insurance, no health worker has ever filled any form. If the N11 billion is somewhere, I am sure that the Federal Government is keeping it.
“The agreement was signed barely three weeks ago and from that time till now, the thing is yet to hit the stand, and I am aware that when they deduct salaries of health workers, it didn’t take one week before they did it.
“The Federal Government only did a lip service that they will impress upon the Governors’ Forum.
“Most of these things, when you go to the state level and you see the way the thing is graduated, most of the states are just doing abracadabra, except few ones who come up with something substantive.
“Our proposal to the government is that every life is worth more than several millions. The least from our proposal is that they should provide between N20 million to N50 million for an individual to be able to at least take care of the people.”