Why we came up with new verification guidelines – NMCN

THE Nigerian Nursing and Midwifery Council (NNMC) has explained why it announced new guidelines for nurses and midwives in the country.

Speaking through its president, Faruk Abubakar, on Channels Television’s ‘Morning Brief’ on Tuesday, February 13, the council said the issue of certificate verification was a global practice.

Abubakar said the latest development was prompted by complaints from many hospitals and individuals about the inadequate staff in the nation’s health facilities and nurses not following proper exit procedures before travelling abroad.

He noted that the council, as a regulatory body, had set at least two years of experience for nurses before they could be eligible to travel abroad, adding that over 42,000 nurses had left the nation in the last three years.

On Monday, February 12, The ICIR reported that the new certificate verification guidelines released by the council were met with protests by the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) in both Lagos and Abuja.

Several nurses who took to the streets voiced discontent regarding what they perceived as an effort to impede their freedom in pursuing career opportunities. 

They also urged the council to prioritise nurses’ welfare, salary scale, staffing shortages, and other rights and allow nurses to go on verification without needing an authorisation letter from a superior.

However, while reacting to the agitations by the aggrieved nurses on Channels TV, Abubakar said there was a need for the council to address the way nurses leave their jobs for abroad, stating that over 15,000 nurses left the country alone in 2023.

“If we allow every Nigerian to leave as they graduate, who is going to handle our healthcare services? Who is going to provide these services? We are Nigerians, and it is our responsibility to provide these services.

“So we are not against anybody travelling, but Nigerians must be served and must be provided with this quality healthcare since we are producing the best quality nurses who are working anywhere in the world. Last year alone, over 15,000 left. The number is increasing year by year,” he added.

    Abubakar further assured that the Federal Ministry of Health was working to address the nurses’ welfare and other demands by the NANNM.

    “The Federal Ministry of Health and the Honourable 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. The salary they are talking about, I think it’s a general phenomenon, and 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,” he stated.

    Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: [email protected]. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M

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