University Graduates of Nursing Science Association (UGONSA) has urged the Federal Government to increase members’ monthly hazard allowance from the current N5,000.
The association stated in a letter dated March 31 that the upward adjustment should reflect the level of hazards to which healthcare workers in their cadre were exposed.
The letter, a copy of which was released to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abakaliki on Thursday, was addressed to the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige.
It was signed by Chief Solomon Egwuenu and Philip Eteng, Chairman and Secretary of the association, respectively.
It was captioned: “Equitable Adjustment of Health Workers’ Hazard Allowances.’’
It read in part: “Sir, we write to commend your on-going effort at ensuring that our age-long cry for the review of health workers’ hazard allowance is addressed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“However, we call for equity in the adjustment of the hazard allowance such that the template for the upward review shall be prorated to the level of exposure to clinical hazards.
“It is incontrovertible that nurses are the single, most exposed group to healthcare-related hazards among healthcare professionals.
“Nurses stay round-the-clock at the patients’ bedsides and thus have the highest exposure to healthcare-related hazards among the healthcare team members.
“Since the care of mankind has been entrusted to nurses, they must be adequately compensated and motivated to carry out this task effectively and efficiently.
“For the umpteenth time, we wish to re-emphasise that the current N5,000 payable to nurses, who swim in an ocean of hazards, as hazard allowance epitomises insensitivity on the side of government.
“The treatment shows a lack of commitment or the political will to reposition our healthcare system for efficient service delivery.
“Globally, the performances of healthcare systems are proportional to the level of welfare and motivation advanced to nurses; nursing is the cornerstone upon which care is anchored in the healthcare delivery system.’’
According to UGONSA, nurses are to the healthcare system what mothers are to the family.
“Any family where the mother is empowered becomes eternally progressive.
“But, in families where mothers are subjugated and trampled upon as done to nurses in the Nigerian health system, never make any inch of progress.’’ It stated.
The union decried poor treatment meted to nurses describing it as the bane of the Nigerian health system.
“Every progressive health system understands that nursing is the heartbeat of the healthcare system.
“And it thus gives premium to the welfare and well-being of nurses to keep afloat a motivated workforce for efficient service delivery.
“We cannot do the less than joining the league of the progressive health system at this auspicious moment.
“It is better late than never; a reviewed allowance equitably configured to reflect the level of exposure to clinical hazards such that nurses who are exposed the most are paid the most will motivate them.
“The motivation will oil their latitude to meeting increasing complexity of health needs of Nigerians which nurses are in the frontline to drive,’’ the association also stated.