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Nigeria’s Healthcare System in Crisis: Over 75,000 Exodus of Nurses and Midwives in 5 Years



Midwives and Nurses

In a troubling revelation, Nigeria’s healthcare system has been thrown into a state of crisis as more than 75,000 nurses and midwives have left the country in the span of just five years.

This mass exodus of healthcare professionals has far-reaching implications for the nation’s healthcare infrastructure and the quality of care available to its citizens, News About Nigeria reports.

The National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) has raised the alarm regarding this alarming trend, shedding light on the underlying causes behind the exodus.

One of the primary factors driving nurses and midwives to seek opportunities elsewhere is the lack of competitive wages and poor work environments within the country.

Faced with these challenges, these dedicated professionals have been forced to look for greener pastures abroad, where they hope to find better remuneration and improved working conditions that match their skills and dedication.

This significant shortage of nursing personnel has placed an immense burden on the healthcare system, leading to increased workloads for the remaining nurses and compromising the overall quality of healthcare delivery.

With fewer hands to provide critical care and support, patients are at risk of receiving substandard treatment, and the nation’s public health is at stake.

Unfortunately, the challenges faced by nurses and midwives in Nigeria extend beyond economic factors. Insecurity has become a pervasive issue, with cases of kidnapping for ransom and violence against healthcare professionals on the rise.

Nurses, who are on the front lines of patient care, face not only physical harm but also emotional trauma as they carry out their duties. This hostile environment has further fueled the desire of many nurses to seek safety and security outside of the country, leaving a gaping void in Nigeria’s healthcare system.

The impact of this mass exodus is particularly acute in the field of midwifery. The shortage of midwives in Nigeria, as highlighted by the 2021 State of the World’s Midwifery Report, stands at approximately 30,000.

Disturbingly, current estimates indicate that only 40,000 new positions will be created by 2030, falling short of the projected need of 70,000 to bridge the gap. The consequences of this shortage are most deeply felt in northern Nigeria, where maternal and reproductive healthcare needs go unmet, endangering the lives of women and infants.

To address this mounting crisis, urgent action is needed. The Nigerian government must prioritize investment in healthcare infrastructure, allocate sufficient funds to the sector, and implement policies that ensure fair wages and improved work environments for nurses and midwives.

Additionally, measures must be taken to enhance security within healthcare settings, safeguarding the lives of healthcare professionals as they care for patients.

Nigeria’s healthcare system is at a critical juncture. The loss of over 75,000 nurses and midwives in just five years is a wake-up call that demands immediate attention and action.