Ahead of the 2023 general elections, Nurses, under the auspices of the University Graduates of Nursing Science Association (UGONSA), have admonished Nigerians on whom not to vote.
This formed part of the communique issued by the association at its conference in Abakaliki, on Thursday.
The communique made available to ecocitytv was signed by the UGONSA National President, Chief (Hon.) S.E.O. Egwuenu, and the National Secretary, Nurse G.I. Nshi.
The association said it was beyond shame that the Nigerian health system that once ranked among the best ten in global ranking and benefited from medical tourism treating the likes of the Saudi Royals in the 1960s, was now celebrating that its ranking improved from 187 out of 191 countries.
“How do we come to terms with the Federal Ministry of health’s estimation that Nigeria loses about $2 billion (1.1 trillion naira) annually to Medical Tourism? It is heart wrecking, especially when it is obvious that this money, if put together over the next five years and deployed for the upgrade of our health facilities, health research capabilities, and healthcare infrastructures, can launch our health system to among the best five in the world.
“Rather than pay attention to fixing our health system, our politicians are shamelessly busy competing on whom to win the ignoble title of ‘Medical Tourist 1 of Nigeria.’
“Our hospitals are in shambles because our politicians and their families are not treated in our hospitals. Our hospitals will be fixed to be in the world-class ranking any day our political class starts getting treatment from our hospitals.
“It is high time medical tourism became a topic for the acceptance or rejection of politicians at the polls. Politicians who seek treatment abroad are directly telling other Nigerians that it is their own lives alone that matter and that the rest of us are sub-humans that deserve to be treated in the ‘mere consulting clinics’ they have egregiously reduced our hospitals to.
“The callousness and insensitivity of our politicians to our health system have forced seasoned healthcare professionals, especially doctors and nurses, to seek shelter in the responsive health system of other countries with responsible leaders where their skills, professional development, and remuneration are enhanced. Ironically, our politicians are treated abroad by these same seasoned Nigerian healthcare professionals that left our health system abroad out of sheer frustration.
“The poor performance of our health system in global ranking has never been the fault of our healthcare professionals. It is a systematic fault of not putting the right facilities and motivation in place by the country’s successive leadership to enable our healthcare professionals to replicate the type of wonders they have been performing when they travel abroad in our own health system.
“The monies wasted on medical tourism are enough to rejig our health system and make a competing payment to the healthcare professionals that will dissuade those currently practicing in the country from contemplating going abroad and compel those that have left for greener pastures to return home.
“It is an affront to our collective sensibility to see our politicians abandon our hospitals that they have run aground through age-long fund deprivation and neglect for the treatment of helpless Nigerians that elected them, while they themselves jet out abroad at the slight of a headache to be treated in well organized, well-furnished, and well-funded hospitals with taxpayers’ monies. Such is abominable and unacceptable and must not be allowed to continue,” UGONSA lamented.
The group charged Nigerians “to get their permanent voter’s cards (PVC), prepare to vote out, and never vote for any politician who has a penchant for embarking on medical tourism abroad.
“Politicians whose pastime is medical tourism have testified that they do not believe in the Nigerian system. If our health system is not good for you, our political system should also not be good for you.
“The level of corruption among our politicians is very pathetic as it is obvious that we now practice ‘Lootocracy’ instead of ‘Democracy.’
“The spate of borrowing for consumption and re-looting with no obvious commensurate project on ground is unacceptable to nurses as it is to the generality of Nigerians.
“We, therefore. strongly call for accountability and transparency in governance to rescue the country from its economic doldrums occasioned by financial profligacy as this will have an unimaginable economic enslavement of our unborn future generation.
“The spate of insecurity in this country is also a severe concern to nurses as it has callously led to loss of precious lives that nurses strive to protect and preserve.
“We call on both States and Federal Government to do more in the area of security to tame the ugly trend of worsening insecurity.”
UGONSA also thanked the Head of Civil Service of the Federation for releasing the circular for the proper placement of graduate nurses that was approved by the National Council on Establishment (NCE) at its 43rd meeting held in Abuja in January 2022 and called for its speedy implementation in all health institutions where nurses work.
It, however, said, “Any delay in implementation of the circular will amount to further traumatization of the already traumatized and frustrated nurses who have been psychologically and financially bruised by the inexplicable injustice of under placement meted on them in the civil service over the years despite their unalloyed loyalty to Nigeria and to the patient.”