The effort of government in enthroning a functional and responsive health care system in Nigeria may not yield adequate result if the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria (NMCN) is not repositioned to carry out its mandate effectively. The strategic role being played by NMCN in Nigeria has made it imperative that the establishment be adequately funded. It is a trite fact that in a hospital system, doctors cannot function without nurses.
It is not in doubt that a well trained nurse is an asset to the nation, while a qualified midwife, is added asset as well. The reason for this line of argument is not farfetched. Once the doctor diagnosis a patient and drug prescribed, the nurse takes over the affairs of the patient. In the same vein, the critical role a qualified midwife plays in the maternity section of the hospital, in terms of safe delivery, cannot be overemphasized. On the other hand, unqualified nurse and midwife are capable of inflicting unimaginable pain to families in Nigeria, in terms of deaths of their love ones; arising from poor handling of patients.
The existence of Non-accredited schools that are churning out unqualified nurses and midwifes in Nigeria, is a great problem to hospital systems. So, it is in the enlightened interest of the country that these schools are closed down once and for all. In ensuring that substandard schools are permanently closed down, the capacities of NMCN in terms of funding and related matters needs to be urgently looked into. It is particularly gratifying that leadership of Alhaji Faruk Umar Abubakar has made the eradication of quack nurses in our hospitals the priority of his administration. Before now, news of careless death of Nigerians in the hands of quack nurses across the country abound. One hopes that NMCN will live up to its vow to end the scourge of quack nurses and schools producing them in Nigeria.
Nothing can be more delightful than the resolve of NMCN to stamp out quackery in the Country than the recent comment from the Registrar, Alhaaji Faruk Umar Abubakar. Hear him, “There is the need to have a sustainable reform for quality assurance in the nursing profession. It is a sure way for growth, efficiency, effectiveness, quality improvement and enhanced public image of the nurse and the nursing profession.”He added that the council had been having a serious challenge with quackery and individuals establishing illegal school of nursing and midwifery. The registrar who stated that the council was concerned about the existing situation in the profession, called members of the nursing profession to join in its fight against indiscipline and unethical, and unprofessional conducts with the nursing profession.
It has been observed that the activities of unprofessional nurses are even more pronounced in private hospitals in Nigeria. We urge NMCN to beam its search light on the operations of these hospitals across the nation. We, like other Nigerians have observed that most private hospitals, in their attempt to maximize profit, employ quack nurses, they can pay peanut at the end of the month, to administer patients. The result is agony of families of most patients as a result of complications and sometimes death of loved ones.
Report from NMCN indicates that the council under the leadership of Faruk Abubakar has put up a lot of measures towards riding the institution of bad elements as well as unqualified nursing institutions. The Council has through mapping identified and properly documented existing nursing and midwifery schools in Nigeria. There are about 209 of them, with 126 schools in the south and 83 in the north. The total approved slots in the 209 schools are 8485 out of which 4,995 is from the south and 390 is from the north. The report further revealed that 25 schools are embargoed in the south, while 2 of them in the north.
The Council, the report suggest, is trying to ensure that the statutory responsibilities of the council are up to date; also, strengthening services to ensure it is effective and productive in terms of accreditation of institutions, is of great importance to the council.
The Council is also ensuring that practicing licenses are issued on time, and ensuring the mandatory continuous vocation development programme so that nurses and midwifes have current and updated knowledge in line with global best practices.
The consensus among Nigerians is that for efficient and effective monitoring, and supervision of examination in various nursing schools in Nigeria; adequate funding of Nursing Council by the government has become imperative. It is the belief of stakeholders in the industry that the council’s manpower capacity should be increased to comprehensively face the task of monitoring and supervision. Training and retraining of staff of the council to respond to developments in health sector is vital here.
Now that Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria (NMCN), under Alhaji Faruk Abubakar, has shown through action that it is determined to sanitize the subsector, all is needed is government genuine action on the part of government to motivate the Council to deliver on its mandate.
Emeka Oraetoka, Information Management and Research Consultant,
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