Nurses affiliated with the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives, Abuja chapter, staged a protest against the newly issued verification certification guidelines by the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria, on Monday.
Expressing discontent, the nurses criticized what they perceived as an infringement on their freedom to pursue career opportunities. They urged the council to address concerns related to nurses’ welfare, salary scale, staff shortage, and other rights.
The protest, monitored by our correspondent, unfolded at the NMCN’s office in Abuja. The Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria issued a circular on February 7, 2024, revising the guidelines for certificate verification for nurses and midwives. This move followed the deactivation of the verification portal on the 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 wielding placards around the premises.
Some of the inscriptions on the placards read, “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, NMCN, don’t reduce nurses” among others.