The Registrar of the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria, Faruk Abubakar has assured nurses under the aegis of the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives, Abuja Chapter, that their complaints will be duly addressed.
He made the promise when the nurses protested against the new verification certification guidelines released by the NMCN.
PUNCH Healthwise reported that the nurses expressed displeasure over what they described as an attempt to hinder their freedom to pursue career opportunities, asking the council to address nurses’ welfare, salary scale, shortage of staff, and other rights.
The protest, monitored by our correspondent was carried out at the NMCN’s office in Abuja.
The nurses and midwives were at the NMCN office singing and carrying placards with inscriptions like, ‘Address unemployment among nurses’, ‘Address quackery’, Address nurses welfare, and ‘No to verification rules’. ‘Stop frustrating the Nigerian nurses’, ‘We are going through a lot already’,’ Protect nurses, ‘Protect healthcare, ‘NMCN, we say no to the verification rules, later’’ NMCN, don’t reduce nurses.’
Addressing the nurses during the peaceful protest, Abubakar, said the nurses’ complaints will be addressed as soon as possible.
He said, “We have listened to you and we are going to address it in a short time, in a couple of days. I have listened to you and I have heard you. I want to acknowledge the way you are mobilised and I want to assure you that your documents will be looked at holistically and will address every issue.
“Nigeria is our only country. We don’t have any other country apart from it. Nobody is against you travelling and whatever policy that is coming on board is in the best interest of Nigerians.
“You have written your complaints and we will look at them one by one and get back to you.
“Go back to your respective place of work, and I assure you that in a couple of days, we will respond.”
The NMCN is the only legal, administrative, corporate and statutory body charged with performing specific functions on behalf of the Federal Government to ensure the delivery of safe and effective Nursing and Midwifery care to the public through quality education and best practices.
The council is mandated by law to regulate the standards of Nursing and Midwifery education and practice in Nigeria and to review such standards from time to time to meet the changing health needs of the society.
NMCN had on February 7, 2024, issued a circular revising the guidelines for requesting verification of certificates for nurses and midwives.
The council’s circular was released after The PUNCH reported the deactivation of the verification portal on NMCN’s website in December 2023.
The circular signed by the Registrar of the council, Dr Faruk Abubakar, read in part, “A non-refundable fee per application shall be paid for verification to foreign boards of nursing as specified on the portal. This shall cover the cost of courier services to the applicant’s institution(s) of training, place of work, and foreign board.
“Eligible applicants must have a minimum of two years post qualification experience from the date of issuance of the permanent practising licence. Any application with a provisional licence shall be rejected outright.
“The council shall request a letter of good standing from the chief executive officer of the applicant’s place(s) of work and the last nursing training institution attended and responses on these shall be addressed directly to the Registrar/CEO, NMCN. Please note that the council shall not accept such letter(s) through the applicant.”
The council also stated that applicants must have active practising licences with a minimum of six months to the expiration date, and processing of verification applications would take a minimum of six months.
It further said that the implementation of the guidelines takes effect from March 1, 2024.