Nurses from the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives, Abuja chapter, staged a protest on Monday against the recent verification certification guidelines released by the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria (NMCN).
The nurses expressed discontent with what they perceive as restrictions on their career opportunities, urging the council to address concerns related to their welfare, salary scale, staff shortages, and other rights.
The demonstration, observed by our correspondent, took place at the NMCN office in Abuja.
The NMCN issued a circular on February 7, 2024, revising the guidelines for certificate verification for nurses and midwives. This move came after reports by The Punch highlighted the deactivation of the verification portal on the NMCN website since December 2023.
According to the circular signed by the council’s registrar, Dr. Faruk Abubakar, applicants must pay a non-refundable fee for verification to foreign nursing boards, covering courier services to their training institutions, workplaces, and foreign boards. Additionally, eligible applicants must possess at least two years of post-qualification experience and hold a permanent practicing licence.
Protestors raised concerns over the new guidelines, emphasising the financial burden, extended processing times, and additional requirements such as letters of good standing from employers and training institutions. The implementation of these guidelines is slated for March 1, 2024.
During the protest, nurses and midwives brandished placards bearing slogans such as “Address unemployment among nurses,” “Protect nurses, protect healthcare,” and “#No to verification rules.” They voiced opposition to the perceived hindrance to their professional advancement and called for immediate reconsideration of the guidelines.
The demonstration underscores growing tensions within the nursing community regarding regulatory measures and highlights the urgent need for dialogue between healthcare authorities and frontline healthcare workers.