Shortage of health workers, especially doctors and nurses, as well as a lack of equipment in state hospitals is adversely affecting health care delivery in Niger State, investigation by Northern City News has revealed. Our correspondent, who went round some general hospitals in the state, also observed that the few medical personnel on duty were overworked as they had to contend with an ever increasing number of patients.
The state chapter Chairman of the Nigeria Medical Association, Dr Jibril Daniyan, told Northern City News on Thursday that the state had 220 registered doctors engaged in the state civil service, 206 others work with the Federal Medical Centre, while 35 were into private practice.
This number, he noted, was grossly inadequate if one took into account the more than two million residents, who access health care services across the state. Daniyan noted that the shortage of manpower and equipment posed the greatest challenge to health care delivery in the state.
“Imagine that in the whole of Niger State, we have only one dialysis centre, which is at the Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida Specialist Hospital in Minna,” he said. The NMA chairman, while lauding the recent inauguration of the Federal Medical Centre in Bida, noted that it also had only one intensive care unit, making it two for the entire state.
He also lamented that because of the challenging working environment in the state, seven of his colleagues recently resigned their appointments. Daniyan appealed to the state government to make more investment in the health sector so as to improve health care delivery. Speaking in a similar vein, the Chairman of the National Association of Nigeria Nursing Management, Niger State Council, Shuaibu Tanko, stated that the state was also suffering from shortage of nurses and midwives.
According to him, nurses currently on the state government’s payroll stood at 946. Those working at the FMC Bida are 300, while 170 others work in the various local government areas of the state. Tanko said, “The World Health Organisation’s guidelines stipulate one nurse to four patients. Nigeria considers one nurse to eight patients.
“Sincerely speaking, as I speak now, in the children’s ward of the Minna General Hospital alone, it is one nurse to 20 patients, which is very bad.” He stressed that nurses working in the state were being overstretched and it was difficult to get the best out of them when issues of working conditions were considered.
While speaking on public complaints about the poor attitude of nurses towards patients, he explained that every profession had its own challenges, but that the body would not condone acts of professional misconduct. He noted that reports of misconduct against nurses were being taken seriously and dealt with expeditiously in line with rules and regulations.
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