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Exodus of nurses has hit Cross River State Government as the State has 93 nurses working in 1, 016 health facilities across the eighteen local government areas of the State.
Findings revealed that nurses in the State resigned to the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, and Nigerian Navy reference hospital in Calabar for fat pay.
Confirming the report, the Chairman of the National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) Comrade Ojong Ogar who regretted the situation admitted that there was brain drain in the State.
Comrade Ogar who was speaking with our reporter in Calabar said “When we came on board, we had this salary structure which the former Governor, Liyel Imoke approved 70% Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS) for the nurses of Cross River State, up till now, the balance of 30% has not be given to us.
“Because of this, a lot of nurses are leaving the State for greener pastures. When you go to the teaching hospital, they pay them 100% and if you go out to other States, the nurses there are being paid 100% but in Cross River State, the nurses are still collecting 70% CONHESS and because of that, retaining nurses in this State is difficult.
“NANNM greatest sad moment is the shortage of manpower, there is gross shortage of manpower in the state. As I am speaking to you, we have about 93 nurses covering the whole 18 local government areas with about 1, 016 health facilities.
“We are talking about Ayade Care, how do you expect 93 nurses to execute a quality nursing care for our people. In this regard, we are equally appealing to the government to look into this, employ more nurses into the health facilities.
“As I am talking to you, very soon, you will discover that most of the wards, (female and male) in health facilities will be collapsed and male and female patients will be kept in one ward because we lack manpower to nurse the patients separately.
“We are equally appealing to government because nurses are retiring at their prime age: during our training, we spent 3 years in training and this period was being counted into our service years, making nurses to retire at the age of 32 years instead of 35 years we are suppose to retire.
“This is causing a great shortage of manpower, so we are appealing to government to give a waiver to this three years of training that are being counted into the service of nurses. This will make them stay longer while the government too will see how far they can employ more nurses,” the Chairman said.
He further said that, “It will equally help those ones that are staying behind to mentor the young ones that are coming, because for me, if a nurse retired at the age 32 years and he comes back and take on contract, he will collect pension and contract, which is not wise enough for the government.
“But, if you remove the three years of service, you keep him there and government will be paying salary which is kudos to the government. I think government should be able to look into this and give us a waver or an extension of these three years to nurses of Cross River State.
“By World Health Organisation (WHO) standard, we need one nurse to 3-4 patients but as I am talking to you, if you go to General Hospitals on shift, you will see one nurse on duty taking care of about 20 something patients which is against the WHO standard,” he stated.