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‘Japa’: FG pleads with nursing graduates to think more of Nigeria - BUSINESSDAY

JUNE 07, 2024

The Director of Nursing, Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Dame Francisca Okafor, on Thursday urged Nursing graduates to think less of embarking on the search for greener pasture.

Okafor made the plea during the seventh combined convocation of the School of Psychiatric Nursing, at Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Aro in Abeokuta, which involved 14 sets from 2009/2010 to 2022/2023.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that a total of 619 graduates were present at the convocation.

Dame Okafor said the Federal Government was hopeful that graduating students of Nursing would jettison the idea of leaving the country in search of greener pasture.

“Given the prevailing economic hardship which can lead to depression and growing substance abuse, among others, there is no doubt that the mental illness burden is increasing daily in the country.

“So, there is the need for Nursing professionals who have been specially trained in the area of mental health to be considerate enough to stay behind to offer requisite care to Nigerians.

“While I am rejoicing with you as you have toiled selflessly and burned the midnight candles to achieve this great academic feat and have been found worthy to be a graduate of Psychiatric Nursing, I want to urge you to stay back to care for our people.

“Look at the young ones indulging in drug and substance abuse, who will take care of them if you indulge in ‘japa’? she said.

Okafor noted that while there was the need to improve on nurses’ working environment in the country, sacrifice and patriotism were however still essential.

“While the government is working on your work environment being better, we must always remember that Nigeria remains our home and no sacrifice can be too much to render in our service to the nation,” she added.

The Director however noted that in the event the nurses insisted on leaving the country, they must follow the right channels.

”There are many Nigerian nurses abroad doing all sorts of menial jobs in spite of their academic qualifications. This is because they were more interested in leaving the country, rather than going through the right channels”.

Okafor urged the graduating nurses to go all out and demystify mental illness with the excellent training received.

“While doing this, you should also work in line with the new Mental Health Act signed into law in 2022,” she said.

The hospital’s Provost/Medical Director, Afis Agboola, in his convocation message, urged the graduating nurses to remain worthy ambassadors of the institution.

Agboola congratulated the graduating students, just as he urged them to deploy their expertise to make positive difference in giving adequate mental care to the people.

He however pleaded for more support from public-spirited Nigerians and corporate organisations to tackle the challenges of limited funding and infrastructure development, among others, confronting the institution.

The Registrar/Chief Executive Officer of Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria (NMCN), Faruk Abubakar, counselled the graduates to promote excellent nursing care according to global practices.


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