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article imageNigeria urged to bolster staff strength at health centers Special

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By Samuel Okocha     Dec 23, 2012 in Health
A primary healthcare worker is calling on government to employ more nurses and doctors to consolidate gains in Nigeria’s health sector.
Drugs and treatments come cheap at government owned hospitals, but the seeming low level of medical staff makes it difficult to attend to the many patients in line for treatment.
“You can see what’s happening in the clinic, I am the only trained nurse on duty. Now, anything that comes, by the grace of God, I have to face it alone, whether labor case or treatment...So we need more hands,’’ the chief nurse and head of a Primary Health Care center in Lagos tells Digital Journal. “Government is not employing nurses. That is what I can say. And we need doctors as well. In case of emergency, one hand cannot handle the case,’’ she adds.
Welfare and health workers
Nigeria ranks among the only three countries in the world with polio, a disease that can cause paralysis and death. Nigeria's government continues to commit to the eradication of the disease which is restricted to few states in the north. Regular Immunization programmes hold across the country as part of efforts to eradicate the disease.
Financial welfare for health workers is however becoming an issue, according to the nurse. She would not want to be named.
“Many people did not even want to do this [immunization] programme because of the money they have been collecting before. They say what are they going to do with it [around $3 a day],’’ she explains in Lagos.
The nurse however acknowledged that government has promised to increase the allowance paid to health workers durring immunization exercises.
Doctors have gone on strike in Nigeria over poor pay. And some are said to be changing profession.
"I have seen medical doctors who are doing their masters now in another profession because they felt being a medical doctor is like wanting to die. So there are a lot of medical doctors in the banks, in marketing, which shouldn’t be," narrates Emmanuel Owoyemi, a Lagos based mental health advocate.
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