By Olusola Oke
Akure – The Ondo State Government has assured nurses serving in the state of support to sharpen their professional capacity at higher levels to improve service delivery.
The Gov. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu said this at 30th Annual National Scientific Conference of Professional Association of Public Health Nurses of Nigeria (PAPHNON) in Akure on Friday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme of the conference is: “Universal Health Coverage: A Healthier Future for All”.
Akeredolu promised to assist them to deepen their knowledge and skills in higher institutions and through research towards achieving Universal Healthcare Coverage (UHC).
Represented by Mr Toyin Akinkuotu, the State Head of Service (HoS), the governor said the health of the people was cardinal to his administration.
Akeredolu said that was why the government merged the state School of Nursing and Midwifery with the University of Medical Sciences, Ondo.
He said the gesture was to ensure that nurses would not limit themselves to Ordinary National Diploma (OND) certificate.
“Our target in Ondo State now is degree for our nurses and this is world class standard because we want you to engage in more research and I am happy that you have embraced it.
“This government needs you more than any group of civil servants and we will continue to support you and continue to have robust relationship with you,” he said.
The governor noted that medical doctors could not adequately perform their roles without support of nurses.
According to him, the state government has instituted contributory health commission to kick-start its contributory health scheme in order to cater for health needs of citizens at affordable fees.
He also pledged to ensure that health benefits were extended to all people irrespective of their status and education attainment.
Dr Wahab Adegbenro, the state Commissioner for Health, thanked PAPHNON for choosing the state to hold its 30th annual conference, saying that he hoped many nurses will be better informed and consequently be reformed at the end of the conference.
Adegbenro asked the participants to harness virtues and potentials of the state in the course of their stay, assuring them that the state is free of plagues and epidemic.
Mrs Alice Ogundele, the state Director of Nursing Services, called on nurses to show compassion and passion as they discharged their duties in achieving UHC.
Earlier, Mrs Salome Tor, the National Chairman of the association, said that the conference acknowledged valuable contributions of public health nurses to the Nigerian society.
Tor, who was represented by Mrs Francisca Umana, the association’s 2nd Vice Chairman, said that the conference would afford members the opportunity to look back, assess the current situation in healthcare delivery with recorded impacts on the health status of the country and re-strategise for better tomorrow.
She said that UHC encompassed the achievement of quality essential healthcare services and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all, including financial risk protection.
“The overall goal of UHC is to ensure that every individual and community irrespective of their circumstances should receive the health services they need without risking financial hardship.
“There has been a steady progress on the implementation of preventive healthcare services in Nigeria but the health indices are still not where it is expected to be.
“It means that there is still more to be done by government, health professionals, civil society organisations, private sector and other stakeholders,” she said.
According to her, it is timely to help in suggesting ways to strengthen preventive healthcare services which still remains the only cost effective and cheaper method than curative healthcare services
Tor encouraged participants to contribute their quotas in making recommendations that would assist in improving the prospects of preventive healthcare services, which was the foundation for the achievement of UCH.
Mrs Ayodele Daodu, the state Chairman of PAPHNON, thanked the governor for creating the Directorate of Nursing at the state Primary Healthcare Development Board, which was being headed by a public health nurse.
Daodu urged the government to inject new energies, new ideas and new people to the profession for professional efficiency.
She commended the leadership of the association for giving serious thought to the conference theme and the sub-themes to align with current National Strategic Health Development Plan II with the goal of expanding coverage for improving the health status of citizens.
According to her, a communiqué on the major conclusions and recommendations of the conference will be made available to the state government for action-oriented policies. (NAN)