A Community Health Educator and a Consultant, has asserted that Nurses found in the Primary Health Centres in the state are professional bandits. Comrade Idoboise Nkanta a retired Deputy Director of Health in Akwa Ibom State frowns at the structural dysfunction in the state Ministry of Health leading to inadequate staff, with the situation where the state sends Nurses to the Primary Health Care Centres, rather than the secondary and tertiary health centres to work with the doctors in taking care of the patients.
“There’s a problem with the placement of the staff. We don’t have doctors enough. WHO says a doctor should be able to serve four hundred persons in the population but the ratio in the state is negligible because the doctors are not enough. And when you go to the ministry of health, you will see so many doctors going up and down with files, what are they doing? Just running the administration, it’s a waste of resources and time. These doctors should have been posted to the Primary Health Centres and other health facilities to go and practice their skills. Nurses in secondary and tertiary health centres are not enough”.
“There’s structural dysfunction within the system, certain things have to be put in place to strengthen it and make it stand out like other institutions. There’s a certain aspect that is good especially in the recent Covid 19 pandemic that has open the eye of government and other stakeholders to stamp out those inadequacies in the health sector for many years now”.
Comrade Nkanta explained that the running of the Primary Health centres belongs to the Primary Health Care Tutors, Community Health Officers, Community Health Extension Workers, and the Junior Community Health Workers. But paradoxical in the state, Nurses are heading the Primary Health Centres who are not trained to do so.
“These are one of the reasons why the patients are not going to the health centres but prefer the traditional birth attendance, patent medicine dealers, and other quacks in the community because they are often harassed by the people who are not trained for such purposes”.
“I want to tell us that the Primary Health Workers are superior. They’re authorized by law to prescribe and treat. Community Health workers use Standing Order like the doctors, in managing cases. The Nurses don’t have Standing Order and can’t prescribe and treat, if they do, it’s illegal and if anything happens he or she goes in for it. But the community Health Workers have the latitude to so” he asserted.