Cross River State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Inyang Asibong on Wednesday inaugurated the State Nursing and Midwifery Board. The 6-member team includes; Dr. Anthony O.N. Awukam as Chairman and Lady Vic. Asabe Undeshi as Secretary. Others are Evangelist Asu Ojong Tandu, Dr. (Mrs.) Augusta Ericbona Ushie, Dr. (Mrs.) Margaret Mombel Apiah, and Hon. Chief Randy Eyo Ita as Members.
Dr. Asibong who was pleased to head the inauguration ceremony stated that the current administration started with no functional School of Nursing and Midwifery but today, there have three (3) functional out of the six (6) and that the governor, His Excellency Senator Professor Ben Ayade has made it his mandate to make sure that the other three (3) Schools of Nursing and Midwifery are reopened as soon as possible.
Classifying the newly inaugurated board members as technocrats, the Honourable Commissioner said, “It’s a dream come through to have this board inaugurated, because this board is made up of technocrats who know what they are doing.
“We have Doctors, PhD holders, lecturers in Colleges of Nursing, Universities. These are the kind of people we need to keep this board moving.
“This very dynamic team is going to steer the Cross River State Schools of Nursing and Midwifery to the next level, to where we want it to be; the best standard in the country,” she said.
Speaking also at the ceremony was the newly inaugurated Chairman, Dr. Awukam who stood his firm that he was made the Chairman of the Cross River State Nursing and Midwifery Board because he is the principal consumer of the product from these schools.
Slaying it, Dr. Awukam stated authoritatively that within the past 15-20 years, it is very difficult to find a registered nurse or midwife to employ especially those in the private sector. Because of that, nearly every doctor running a private health establishment uses the community health officers; most of them poorly trained from private schools in the neighbouring states.
His words: “Everybody knows that the Nursing and the Midwifery is the powerhouse of the health industry. For you to run a proper health establishment in the state, these middle cadre professionals must be many. Therefore, we are going to bring back the World Health Organisation (WHO) standard of one nurse to six (6) persons.
“We intend to put our 3 Schools of Nursing and 3 Schools of Midwifery back to shape and functional,” He said.
The chairman, who later requested for mobility and accommodation, assured the Commissioner for Health and the State Government of quick recovery of the Schools of Nursing and Midwifery.
The newly inaugurated Secretary, Lady Undeshi also said in 2006, all the schools were closed down and in 2008; the former Governor Liyel Imoke tried to put on enormous structures on ground so that all the schools would be reestablished. But most of these structures are now obsolete which have the council recommendation for accreditation.
Being part of the accreditation team, Lady Undeshi said, the board need a vehicle that will be taking them round to most schools so they can supervise effusively. She added that, the major thing the schools were closed down was lack of personnel. “All over Nigeria, Midwives are very scarce and I want to say if the state has some midwives, they should hold tight onto them and if possible those who had retired should be called back so that we can keep this our schools,” she said.
Contributing to the development, The Director of Nursing Services, Dr. (Mrs.) Christy Ekpe who spoke through a representative said she is happy that this governing council is taking off.
“So much has to be put in place especially the recommendation made by the Council on the death of manpower in respect to accommodation, Midwives and Nursing educators. I wish this is properly addressed before September, a month slated for new admission,” she said.
The six (6) schools of Nursing and Midwifery in question are located as follows: School of Midwifery, Obudu; School of Midwifery, Ogoja; School of Nursing, Ogoja; School of Nursing, Calabar; School of Midwifery, Calabar and School of Nursing; Itigidi.