Nigeria: Nurses Protest Against New Certification Guidelines in Abuja

Nigeria: Nurses Protest Against New Certification Guidelines in Abuja

By Ahmad Hadizat Omayoza, Mamos Nigeria

In a show of dissent against the newly released verification certification guidelines by the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria (NMCN), nurses and midwives under the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives, Abuja chapter, took to the streets in protest.

The protest, which unfolded at the NMCN’s office in Abuja, was marked by chants and placards bearing messages addressing various grievances. Nurses and midwives voiced concerns over what they perceive as constraints on their professional mobility and opportunities. Placards emblazoned with slogans such as “Address unemployment among nurses,” “Address quackery,” and “#No to verification rules” underscored their demands for fair treatment and recognition of their contributions to healthcare.

Among the grievances voiced by the protesting nurses were issues related to employment, welfare, and staffing shortages. They called on the council to prioritize nurses’ welfare, advocate for better salary scales, and address the critical shortage of healthcare staff. Central to their concerns was the perceived infringement on their freedom to pursue career advancement and opportunities.

The backdrop to this protest stems from a circular issued by the NMCN on February 7, 2024, which outlined revised guidelines for certificate verification for nurses and midwives. The circular, signed by the Registrar of the Council, Dr. Faruk Abubakar, introduced changes to the verification process, including the requirement for a non-refundable fee for verification applications by foreign nursing boards.

Additionally, the council stipulated criteria such as a minimum of two years post-qualification experience and active practicing licenses with a minimum of six months to expiration. The implementation of these guidelines is slated to commence on March 1, 2024, with processing times estimated at a minimum of six months.

While the council’s intent may be to streamline verification processes and uphold standards, the response from nurses and midwives underscores broader concerns within the profession. Beyond the technicalities of certification, the protest reflects deeper systemic issues affecting nurses’ professional autonomy, welfare, and recognition within the healthcare system.

As the dialogue between nursing professionals and regulatory bodies continues, the protest serves as a poignant reminder of the vital role nurses play in delivering quality healthcare and the need to address their concerns in shaping policies that affect their profession.

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