Today, 7th April 2020, the National Association of Seadogs (NAS), Pyrates Confraternity joins the rest of the world in celebrating the annual World Health Day; a day set aside globally by the World Health Organization for government’s and non-government health organizations to celebrate the contribution of doctors, nurses and other health workers in promoting healthier living habits and protecting well-being. This year’s theme acknowledges the contribution of healthcare professionals, who have become frontline soldiers in this year of the pandemic; when the whole world is battling a health crisis, as we combat the Coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic.

Nigeria is at the moment facing a shortage of nurses and midwives and with a projected 333,494 registered nurses by 2030; this number is inadequate for the nation to meet the Sustainable Development Goals(SDG’s).

As the world acknowledges the input of nurses and midwives today, it is pertinent to draw the attention of governments to their plight and that of other frontline health workers. Apart from their limited numbers, they are exposed to sundry socio-economic challenges, which include but are not limited to health hazards, emotional insecurity, family crises, mental health challenges, poor remunerations, inadequate insurance cover, amongst others.

Similarly, we urge the Federal Government of Nigeria to review the remuneration and welfare of healthcare practitioners in Nigeria and bring it at par with international best practices standards.

Finally, the National Association of Seadogs, Pyrates Confraternity wish to commend the current efforts of the Federal Government to contain the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic. The stay-at-home order is a step in the right direction but aggressive testing should be a complementary activity to help pinpoint the exact nature of contagion and plan appropriate and adequate responses. The total lockdown order has adversely impacted economic activities, hence, livelihoods. Adequate palliative measures need to be emplaced to alleviate theharsh economic consequences of the lockdown. We commend state governmentsalready doing this and enjoin the rest to do same.

While we urge everyone to obey the government’s stay-at-home order, we advocate strict adherence to the personal hygiene regimen prescribed by the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

Let us all stay safe and healthy.

Dr A J Oteri

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