It is the world health day 2020! It is that special time of the year put aside to discuss current issues affecting health and the need to stipulate policies for improvement.
World Health Day 2020 theme slogan
The theme for this year is “Support nurses and midwives”. Often overlooked, nurses and midwives are one of the pillars of the healthcare system. Their roles in ensuring the health access and wellbeing of patients are innumerable. They deserve to be celebrated and appreciated for the efforts they put in their daily jobs, particularly in the face of the recent COVID-19 pandemic.
After diagnosis and prescription by doctors, nurses are often charged with the responsibility of looking after the patient, providing collaborative care, promotion of health, and caring for patients particularly those who cannot look after themselves like the dying, the disabled and the aged. We often meet more nurses in the hospital wards than doctors, and oftentimes, they are warm and compassionate. Midwives are given the responsibility of taking care of women during pregnancy, labor and postpartum. They ensure the health of the mother and newborn and help to detect abnormal conditions. The nurses and midwives are highly essential in achieving Universal health coverage in Nigeria.
The sad culture in Nigeria is that we look down on our nurses. We respect only the doctors and ignore the nurses, forgetting the fact that we spend more time with the nurses than doctors. As individuals, one major way to support our nurses and midwives is by appreciating them. Showing gratitude for the duty they carry out especially in our care and care of loved ones by acknowledging their efforts is the best way to start. Their efforts, together with other professionals in curbing the current pandemic are respectable and cannot be downplayed by any standard.
Fellow healthcare professionals are not excused and have a role to play as well. For better improvements in Patient care and treatment output, involving nurses and midwives in decision making is highly essential. They should be allowed to express their views and opinions about the treatment guidelines and make proper recommendations. Most importantly, they should be respected by other health workers. Nursing is a profession and should not be undermined as less.
Universal health coverage through primary healthcare can only be achieved when there is an adequate number of nurses equipped with facilities and tools to carry out their jobs. Nigeria needs more nurses, thus, the Government must improve nursing and midwifery education in universities and improving conditions of employment. The provision of support for nurses will go a long way in improving their output and health outcomes as a result. As stated by the World Health Organization, investing more in midwives, who are critical for maternal and newborn health as well as for family planning, could avert over 80% of all the maternal deaths, stillbirths and neonatal deaths that occur today. Moreover, nurses and midwives are the first and only point-of-contact with patients and the trust which develops between them and patients helps improve care. Statistically, a large portion of nurses and midwives are women and equipping them perfectly for their roles and functions will help reduce gender equality, improve women empowerment and provide leadership skills. Today is the World health day 2020 and improving the health of the population involves improving the health system which can only function with the workforce of which nurses and midwives make about 50%.
Today is a day for the nurses and the midwives. This is the best time, especially in this health situation, to appreciate them. Pray for the nurses and midwives, appreciate the nurses and midwives, respect the nurses and midwives, value the nurses and midwives and support the nurses and midwives because your health is their concern. Happy World Health Day 2020!
The views and opinions expressed in this opinion article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The Eastern Herald.