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New certificate verification guidelines in Nigeria’s best interest

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The Nigeria and Midwifery Council of Nigeria has said that the new certificate verification guideline for nurses is in the best interest of the nation.

Recall that nurses under the aegis of the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives, Abuja chapter, on Monday, protested against the new verification certification guidelines released by the Nigeria and Midwifery Council of Nigeria.

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 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 added that the implementation of the guidelines takes effect from March 1, 2024.

Meanwhile, on Monday, the nurses and midwives were at the NMCN office singing and carrying placards around the premises peacefully.

Some of the placards read, “Address unemployment among nurses, address quackery, address nurses welfare.

“#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.”

Speaking with our correspondent, one of the nurses’ spokesman, Cynthia Adeyeri urged the government to improve the welfare of nurses, instead of issuing new guidelines on certificate verification.

Adeyeri said, “We are to give the Registrar a letter and to say our displeasure over the certificate verification. We are saying no to making us work two years before we can leave (the country), we are saying no to getting a letter of good standing from the CMD from our hospitals, and we are saying no other things in the circular.

“The government should dialogue with young nurses to ask us why we are leaving Nigeria. We have a poor healthcare infrastructure and that is why people are leaving, they want to go to where they have better pay and better welfare. The welfare of nurses in Nigeria is very poor.

“We want them to increase our pay and make the system better for the nurses and the patients.”

Another nurse, Isioma Alexis said nurses in the country are against the circular issued by the nursing council.

Alexis stated, “We are saying no to the circular that was released. There is no correlation between getting a letter of good standing from where we work we getting the verification certificate.

“We are telling them to reverse everything that is in that circular to what it used to be, both the ones they have not even implemented or what they are still thinking of implementing.

“We are thinking of improvement but they are giving us a shock of our lives.”

Addressing the nurses during the peaceful protest, the Registrar said the nurses’ complaints would be addressed as soon as possible.

He noted that the revised guidelines for certificate verification were in the best interest of Nigerians.

He said nobody is against the nurses and midwives travelling out of the country.

Abubakar 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 Nigeria. 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,” he noted.

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.

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