A CALL FOR PROFESSIONAL INTERVENTION
The ethics of nursing profession was designed to make us the most loving and trusted professionals in the health care delivery system. It is through nurses that patients/clients get the best experience. African nurses must then begin to take initiative as front-line agents against evil in the society. One of the greatest setbacks in African Nursing community is the mentality that nursing roles are restricted to the four walls of a hospital environment. This is a reflection of poor understanding of the paradigm shifts in nursing practice over the years, consequently, leading to stagnation to 19th century philosophy of nursing.
The consumers of health services are “clients” who are well but whom we must support with knowledge, counseling and advocacy so that environments, policies, laws and facilities which are sine qua non for maintenance of their good health are made available. The other consumers are the sick whom we must apply the science and art of caring to restore back to health. Our roles as nurses, therefore, have expanded to include activities such as civil society actions to press government to do the needful for her citizenry, public health advocacy actions to ensure that activities or situations that endanger the well-being of our citizens are eradicated. Nurses must become molders of consensus to awaken public conscience against activities such as “BABY SELLING“. Our fundamental responsibility is to restore the dignity of man through clinical, leadership and advocacy actions. The idea that a human being is not “FOR SALE” is why many societies provide legitimate laws for adoption. Yet many people have decided to establish a trade in selling babies.
Our focus in this write up is not to question the selling of babies in Nigeria and other African countries, but to query why nurses remained cold and silence while the practice goes on under their nose. From the professional bodies to individual nurses, we have collectively failed the innocent infants and their ignorant mothers in Africa. African Nurses have been very consistent in not taking center stage in sensitive issues relevant to the society, consequently, our relevance in the society has continued to diminish. We must begin to provide leadership to give voice to the vulnerable. The “baby factory” business is operated by people who locate pregnant women willing to give out their child for a price. They target mostly teenagers with unwanted pregnancy which is highly associated with societal stigmatization, a situation that increases their willingness to give up their baby after delivery. One of the insane practices by baby sellers is that some actually stage a burial ceremony claiming the child is dead so that no one shall ever ask for their whereabouts.
What can nurses do to intervene in baby selling?
First of all, we must identify the victims of baby selling business
- The innocent child who may be sold to people with evil intentions
- The ignorant/or poor pregnant woman with unwanted pregnancy
- The desperate married couples under family and societal pressures to have a child of their own.
As nurses, we can set up platforms or use our professional organization to aide these three victims. Firstly, we must pioneer massive public enlightenment that will dissuade people from patronizing baby sellers. This is important because many couples sincerely do not see anything wrong as they see the money they pay for “buying the baby” as a price for adoption. Most are not really aware of the illegality of the activities of those selling them the babies. This enlightenment must involve an advocacy for legislative action that will review adoption law and criminalize baby selling. Many have raised issues about the difficulties involved in legal adoption. Meanwhile, we know that there are many homeless children who would happily accept to be adopted into a family. Most motherless baby centers have also been converted into business center through the resources they receive from charitable organizations and individuals. Hence they are increasingly becoming reluctant to allow the kids to be adopted because absence of kids in their facilities automatically means the demise of their “only means of income”. Out of frustration, couples now subscribe to other ways which are illegal. Therefore, the society must make sure that couples who have the resources and safe environment to raise a child are allowed to adopt legally.
Secondly, every maternity and motherless baby’s homes must be registered and monitored to avoid illegal activities. Furthermore, it is true that there have been some cases where health workers including nurses and doctors, connive to steal the baby delivered in their hospitals or situations where they converted a registered hospital facility into a baby factory. Security agencies need to research on how to identify such individuals and facilities so as to curb this menace and nurses can inspire these security agencies into action through their voices and cooperation.
Nurses must put themselves in the news as those fighting baby factory business and not those aiding it. Failure to do so is nothing short of a huge failure in our social contract with the society.
LeadNurseAfrica therefore intends to pioneer a sound nursing campaign with harsh-tag #NoBabySelling . Join us in this campaign.