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CNA 10th Scientific Conference 2023

CNA 10th Scientific Conference

“50% of 18 Million Health Workers Needed Globally Are Nurses” – Dr Grace Awasum

Dr Grace Awasum, a lecturer at the Catholic University of Cameroon CATUC Yaounde has declared that out of the 18 million health workers needed globally to meet up with health service needs, 9 million are Nurses and Midwives. She made this declaration in a keynote lecture on “Opportunities and potentials to improve the status of Nursing in Cameroon” on Friday, March 31, during the 10th Scientific Conference of CNA; Cameroon Nurses’ Association which took place at the Epic Events Center in Bamenda. The two-day Scientific Conference which ended on Saturday the 1st of April took place under the theme “Investing in the Nursing Profession.”

“Nurses make up more than fifty per cent of the workforce of Health Care Service Providers. Nurses do a lot but unfortunately, they are not recognised. They are not known for what they do and what they really are. The International Council of Nurses ICN and the World Health Organization WHO provide Nurses with a lot of opportunities. These nurses are theoretically and practically trained to meet the needs of the population. Unfortunately, they do not have a comfortable working environment and the necessary motivation to be able to carry out their tasks in such a way that they can be appreciated.”

She however stated that nurses have to carry out their noble role which she said was to take care of the population. She urged nurses to do their work as required which she said was the provision of holistic care and then advocating for change in their working conditions. Hear her: “Nurses have to sell themselves by going out into the communities and doing health promotions; telling people to adopt certain attitudes to improve upon the quality of their lives.

Self Investment is extremely important. If you want to take care of the health needs of the population, you need academic and clinical knowledge and you need to use it appropriately.”

Participants at the CNA 10th Scientific Conference

Reverting to the theme of this year’s Scientific Conference Dr. Grace Awasum said when reference is made to investing in nursing, the first thing that comes in the minds of Nurses is to expect something from the state.  She urged the nurses to ask themselves what they are supposed to do as a nurse.

In a brush with the media at the end of the first day of the Conference, Dr Grace Awasum said

“You need to take your studies seriously and acquire the necessary competence. To have a Diploma doesn’t mean that you have the necessary competence. Self Investment is for you to develop the competencies that are necessary to function as a Nurse” she said.

Meantime, Professor Mary Bi Suh Atanga, President of the Local Organizing Committee of the CNA 10th Scientific Conference revisited the quintessence of the theme of this year’s  Conference. “The Nurse is at the base of every health facility. There’s no health facility without a nurse. If you look at the way the health Sector is structured in Cameroon you will see that in the Health Area, there’s a nurse. When you move to the Health Post, there’s a nurse. You move to the District Service, there’s a nurse. When you move to the Regional and the National Service, there’s a nurse. The same applies at the international level. The nurse cuts across all health facilities. Investing in the nursing profession is telling them to look inwards and see how they can improve upon their practice irrespective of where they find themselves. The second thing is for stakeholders to see that they have a group of people who need some attention. That attention should be directed to the nurse. They should invest in the Nurse and give them the opportunity to practice under better conditions. They are capable but sometimes the working environment is not conducive.”

Professor Bih Suh further said the additional thing at this year’s Scientific Conference was for each guest speaker to add something new.

“The new thing is the Strategic Plan of the ICN and the WHO. The nurses will go home knowing that there was an extra thing. It was not just the traditional teaching, research and practice. We were looking at International Documents and trying to see what could be done to attract more investment in the Sector.”

Professor  Mary Bih Suh Atanga further said a lot was expected from the nurses after this conference. “Everything that was said that touched on the working conditions of Nurses’ was followed by hand clapping. It means that they are expecting to learn how to work in that enabling environment with good capacities and make their patients smile. The general thing is, smile at every patient. Don’t only serve medications but perform your role as a nurse.”

Cameroon nurses association 10th scientific conference

The President of the Cameroon Nurses’ Association Mr. Nkwain Joseph, in a keynote address, stated that “the aim of the Cameroon Nurses’ Association is to contribute to the improvement of the health of citizens by fostering nursing education, research, care and management.”

He said the association which presently has a membership of 4.500 spreads all over the national territory and beyond. CNA he said carries registration for all grades of Nurses. This he said includes “Nursing Assistants who are associate members, State Diploma Nurses, HND Nursing, HPD Nursing, Bachelor of Nursing Sciences, Masters and PhD holders who are full members.”

Acknowledging that the Ministry of Public Health has been giving subventions to the association, Mr Nkwain Joseph further stated that CNA had handled some projects in partnership with the Ministry of Public Health. “This was the case of the African Health Professions Regional Collaborative for Nurses and Midwives of West and Central Africa. It was co-organised by Emory University, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Atlanta USA and PEPFAR.”

CNA in its efforts to continue with the professional development of Nurses has in Collaboration with the Alpha Higher Institute of Health in Douala been organizing professional development workshops.

The second day of the conference was dedicated to a symposium on Crisis and mental health and free paper sessions. The conference rounded up with presentations from Nursing Schools and an Award ceremony.

Credits: Originally published on
By Francis Ekongang Nzante

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