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The Association made the call during its 27th Annual National Scientific Conference in Abuja with the theme; “Public Health Nursing Practice: Promoting Nutrition and Food Safety in Nigeria.’’
Mrs Adeyemi Oluwatayo, the National Chairperson of the Association, said public health nurses were being relegated to the background whereas their responsibilities in the society were highly significant.
“The government has not fully tapped the resources from this group of professionals as most of them are not posted to areas where they can function effectively and efficiently.
“They are inadequately motivated. Public health nurses have no significant place in the primary health of the country and are inadequately employed in all the three tiers of healthcare delivery system of the nation.
“These professionals are poorly motivated, particularly at primary health care level to ensure maximum productivity and be at par with their counterparts in other parts of the world.
“We appeal to policy makers on health, as well as well-meaning Nigerians to assist in responding to repositioning public health nursing.
“It is only when public health nurses who have been provided with the necessary skills through adequate training and retraining are properly deployed that their experience can be maximized.’’
Oluwatayo said that replacing public health nurses with lower qualified health workers as obtainable in the country was not in the interest of the general public.
Mrs Salome Tor, the Chairperson of the Association in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), said it was important that people consumed food that would ensure safety and nourishment to the body.
Tor added that food could easily be contaminated and made unsafe for human consumption by micro-organisms barely seen with the eyes.
“Within the environment, the household, there are rodents that when your environment is not kept healthy, they can contaminate your food.
“We have cockroaches, insects in the environment, dust that spread diseases and organisms that cause these sicknesses are not seen with the naked eyes.
“Food need to be prepared in such a way that it should be taken whole and not taken when it has become roughage.
“Eating foods that are left over, flies perched on it, smelly food can be contaminated”, Tor said.
According to Tor, Nigeria is living in a borrowed culture with so much attraction to fast foods with fewer nutrients to nourish the body.
She stated that a proper meal required the six classes of food and water in the right proportion for a healthy living.
Tor called on the government to support the practice and avail them an enabling environment to carry out their responsibilities adding that preventing diseases was more beneficial to curing one.
Goodwill messages were given by Association of Public Health Physicians of Nigeria, National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives amongst other organisations.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the objective of the programme was to highlight the roles of public health nurses in enhancing the policies that promote food safety and good nutrition.
The programme was also aimed at educating the citizenry on the importance of the consumption of wholesome food; promote infant nutrition through breastfeeding and proper weaning.
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