Faruk Abubakar, Registrar of the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria, said that over 15,000 nurses and midwives departed Nigeria in 2023 in search of better opportunities abroad.
When discussing the controversy surrounding the nurses’ certificate verification on Tuesday’s episode of Channels Television’s Morning Brief, Abubakar made this statement.
The nurses staged protests at the NMCN’s offices in Abuja and Lagos, respectively to express their 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.
NMCN, in its revised guidelines, stated that applicants seeking verification of certificates from foreign nursing boards and councils must possess two years of post-qualification experience from the date of issuance of the permanent practising license.
Meanwhile, Abubakar said the number of nurses leaving the country is increasing every year.
He said, “42,000 nurses left the country in the last three years. Last year alone, it was over 15,000, the number is increasing year by year.”
When asked what the council is doing to protect and improve the welfare of the nurses, the Federal Ministry of Health is working towards improving the nurses’ working conditions, allowances, and salaries.
“The FMoH and the honourable Minister of State (for health) are working hard to ensure a very conducive working environment, with the provision of state-of-art equipment, and instruments, that will help them provide quality care for Nigerians.
“And I want to assure (you) that within a couple of months, a lot has been integrated and provided in 2024 that will improve the welfare of the nurses that we are talking about. When talking about the salary they are talking about, I think it’s a general phenomenon, and I believe it’s a general thing.
“There is a lot of progress that is going on to review the salary and nurses are also included in that policy. I think it’s a general phenomenon, all other sectors are also complaining, and the government is doing a lot,” he stated.
He added that the council is not responsible for the remuneration of nurses in the country.
“Our responsibility is to ensure that nurses are regulated to better education and practice for Nigerians. Those who are responsible are doing their best to ensure that the welfare is attended to.
“Additionally, the NANNM, which is the umbrella body (of nurses and midwives) is doing a lot. I know that there was a lot of discussion with the honourable Minister some weeks back, and all related to their welfare. The association that is responsible for that is doing its best to ensure that the welfare is improved drastically,” he said.