New verification policy controversy

In this report, VINCENT KURAUN x-rays the new verification guidelines by NMCN and why the Nigerian nurses are calling for a reversal. New verification policy

NMCN’s justification for the guidelines

The NMCN Registrar,  Abubakar, during his interview on Channels Television had spoken on the issue surrounding the new verification rules, disclosed that in 2023, more than 15,000 nurses and midwives left Nigeria in pursuit of better

opportunities abroad.

According to him, the number of nurses leaving the country is increasing annually. He revealed that over 42,000 nurses left the country in the last three years. “Last year alone, it was over 15,000, the number is increasing year by year,” he said.

Speaking on efforts to safeguard and improve nurses’ welfare, the registrar pointed out that the Federal Ministry of Health is working towards enhancing working conditions, allowances, and salaries for nurses.

He said “The Federal Ministry of Health is working towards improving the nurses’ working conditions, allowances, and salaries.

“The FMoH and the Minister of State for Health are working hard to ensure a very conducive working environment, with the provision of state-of-art equipment, and instruments that will help them provide quality care for Nigerians.

“And I want to assure you that within a couple of months; a lot has been integrated and provided in 2024 that will improve the welfare of the nurses that we are talking about. On the issue of the salary that has been raised, I believe it’s a general thing.

“There is a lot of progress that is going on to review the salary and nurses are also included in that policy. I think it’s a general phenomenon, all other sectors are also complaining, and the government is doing a lot.

“Our responsibility is to ensure that nurses are regulated to better education and practice for Nigerians,” he stated.

Intervention of lawmakers

The controversy surrounding the new certificate verification has also caught the attention of the country’s lawmakers.

A member of the House of Assembly, representing IkotEkpene/Essien Udim/Obot Akara Federal Constituency, Akwa Ibom State, Patrick Umoh moved a motion of urgent public importance on Tuesday, February 27, 2024.

Mr Umoh, while condemning the requirement for two years of post-qualification experience before verification, described it as unreasonable, arbitrary and unfair.

The lawmakers have now called on the NMCN to suspend its plan to implement the new guidelines on the 1st of March as the house investigates the controversies surrounding the new guidelines.

Waiting game……?

For now, Nigerian nurses wait expectantly, hoping that the investigation so directed by the national lawmakers would be speedily conducted.

But a concerned Nigerian citizen Okesola on his media handle  offered a way forward. According to him, government must first withdraw the controversial policy.

, He said: “Withdraw the NMCN policy and compel @NMC_Nigeria and @NANNM_NGR to leverage on the pool of diaspora nurses, scholars and stakeholders at @nannna_org @NNCAUK @ANNI_Nurse @inrnigeria in developing a progressive and proactive policy that addresses the nursing workforce challenges.

“Urgently constitute a new nursing board with a bulk of stakeholders from diaspora-based nursing leaders, policymakers, researchers, and scholars who are ready to return to the country to serve to help develop and implement nursing policies that will truly protect Nigerians.

“Implement the brilliant recommendations from the Triple Impact Report by All Party-Parliamentary Group on Global Health.

“Implement the brilliant recommendations from the State of the World’s Nursing by the World Health Organization.

“Take more seriously the recommendations of the Abuja Declaration of 2001 by the African Union Member States on budgetary allocation to healthcare.

“Implement recommendations of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development 2023 Report and @UNmigration on international migration.

“Invest in young students and graduate nurses through scholarship and overseas exchange programs. Train, upskill and equip retired nurses to help strengthen the depleted workforce at the primary level. Engage willing diaspora nurses who are ready to serve to help strengthen nursing training and education.”

Similarly, the NANNM Ondo State chairman recommended that the government should expedite action in improving the security of the country, equip the health institutions and improve nurses’ remunerations. He added that “NNPC and other oil companies operating in Nigeria should recognise the nursing profession as one of the health professions that must benefit from their scholarships.”

  • Additional reporting by Funmilayo Aremu-Olayemi


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