February 27, 2024

Japa: How you can stop nurses, NANNM explains to FG

Lagos nurses begin 3-day warning strike from Monday over govt's insensitivity

…. presents 12 demands as NMCN reviews controversial areas in revised guidelines

…wants creation of separate salary structure for nurses, midwives

By Joseph Erunke, ABUJA

The leadership of National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives, NANNM, has called on the federal government to implement upward review of nurses salary to effectively address issue of brain drain.

Besides,the association asked the government to approve creation of special separate salary package called “Enhanced Nurses Salary Structure,ENSS”, as a motivation to the nurses and midwives to reduce migration.

These were among other 12 demands the Nigerian nurses and midwives’ association presented to the government in the wake of controversies arising from revised guidelines for verification of certificates with the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria,NMCN by applicants to foreign nursing boards or council.

The demands came even as NMCN has agreed to review some of the grey areas in the controversial revised guidelines.

Among the contentious areas to review, according to a release, Tuesday, by the
National President of NMCN,Nurse Michael Ekuma Nnachi,are issue of letter of good standing to be handled by the Head of Nursing services of respective facilities; stepping down the issue of verification for six months; Application fee remains status quo ante and
two years post qualification experience now to be post registration with the Council.

All the agreed reviewed guidelines are to be uploaded on the Council portal from first week of March 2024.

The 12 full demands, according to the release,are:Establishment of full-fledged Department of Nursing at the Federal Ministry of Health and appointment of a Director of Nursing Service who reports directly to the Permanent Secretary – Creation of Department of Nursing Services at the Federal Ministry of Health to give room for expanded professional roles and practice.

“Implementation of Abuja declaration 2020 – Government to implement the 15% of the National Budget as recommended by Abuja declaration, 2020.

“Provision and Replacement of delipidated equipment- To meet the health care needs of patients through quality care.

“Creation of separate salary structure – Government to approve creation of special separate salary package called Enhanced Nurses Salary Structure (ENSS) as a motivation to the Nurses and Midwives to reduce migration.

“Upward Review / Implementation of peculiar professional allowances: Government to implement upward review of Nurses salary to effectively address issue of brain drain.

“Payment of 25% CONHESS adjustment – Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) to direct the payment of 25% CONHESS adjustment to Nurses and Midwives working at the three tiers of government, effective from June 2023 as approved by the government, which the financial implication would erode due to the prevailing inflation and implications of removal of fuel subsidy.

“Appointments as board members – Federal Government to extend and include appointment of Nurses into key positions as well as members of Federal Boards in order to address extreme marginalization in the governance structure of the health facilities in Nigeria.

“Employment by Replacement – CMDs / MDs to objectively implement Government approved policy replacement circulars by replacement of appropriate Cadre of Nurses due to brain drain syndrome as directed by the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation.

“Extension of retirement age – The FMOH is requested to approve elongation of retirement of recruitment age of Nurses from 60 – 65 years to improve on available workforce in the clinical and educational institutions in the country.

” Employment of Nurses and Midwives – it is no longer news that the Federal Health Institutions and Facilities are in dare need of nursing personnel.

“Safety / Security of personnel – The spate of kidnapping of nursing personnel in some Federal Health Facilities across the States is affecting the morale of our members and the quality of service delivery.

“Call on government to Implement the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) judgment 2012 – The Federal Ministry of health and the office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation are yet to comply with the judgment of the NICN delivered in 2012..”

The release read in part:”Today 27th February 2024, the leadership of National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) wishes to make a press release on the recent circular issued by the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria (NMCN) with Ref. No NMCN/SG/RO/MH/14/VOL.1/40 and dated 7th February 2024, for the members to know the position of the association on this sensitive and critical matter.

“The contents of the circular provided guidelines and requirements which included 8 points with 4 sensitive and controversial requirements needed for verification of certificate(s) by applicants to foreign Nursing Boards/Council.

“The circular generated unprecedented and unrestricted reactions from majority of nurses who frowned at the contents expressing open displeasure and dissatisfaction with such release of anti-nurses policy in the midst of excruciation suffering being experienced by Nigeria Nurses and Midwives, due to poor remuneration, high cost of standard of living and working under very difficult conditions in the various health settings.

“The members expressed dissatisfaction on four key points in parts as “A non-refundable fee per application to be paid for verification to Foreign Boards of Nursing as specified on the portal;Eligible applicants must have a minimum of two (2) years post qualification from the date of issuance of permanent practicing license;The Council seeking a letter of Good Standing from the Chief Executive Officer of the applicant’s place(s) of work.

“Processing of verification application for a minimum of six months: It is important to clarify that the leadership of the association was not consulted prior to the release of the circular for the review of the verification guidelines and requirements and the position of NANNM was for the circular to be withdrawn.

“The leadership of the association promptly engaged the NMCN through series of meetings to address the critical issues and the Council agreed to review all the issues raised by the association.

“Issue of letter of good standing to be handled by the Head of Nursing services of respective facilities.

“Issue of verification for six months was stepped down.

“Application fee remains status quo ante.
iv. Two years post qualification experience now to be post registration with the Council.
All the agreed reviewed guidelines will be uploaded on the Council portal from first week of March 2024.

“The national leadership will continue to engage the federal government with the following demands as already presented to the federal Ministry of Health and relevant agencies.”

Meanwhile,the federal government on Tuesday,said In support of the Nursing profession in Nigeria,it has adopted the Global Strategic Directions for Nursing and Midwifery 2021-2025 and was working assiduously on the accompanying resolution of the four pillars which it named as “education, job creation, leadership and service delivery” as they all need attention mostly in the developing countries like Nigeria.

Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare,Daju Kachalum, speaking through her representative and Director of Nursing Services in the ministry,Dame Francisca Okafor,at opening ceremony of induction programme for newly elected state officers of NANNM, noted that at the ministry, quality health care service delivery is its priority.

While noting that only nurses can ensure quality and patient safety,the permanent secretary commended nurses for their roles in staying with the patients round the clock.

“We therefore charge Nigeria nurses and midwives to align with the Coordinating Minister’s Four Point Agenda, which are: to improve governance, improve population health outcomes, unlock healthcare value chain and health security for Nigerians.

” We recognize the fact that our economy, is facing some challenges but it is imperative to state that the current administration has moved the Ministry’s budget line from 3.6% to 5.1% for the first time, this is evident of the fact that Mr, President is committed to investing more in the health sector.

“The Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare is passionate about transforming the health sector; hence he has identified areas of collaboration for robust support and engagement to move the health sector forward. Consequently, the Ministry is looking into the demands the union presented during her courtesy call to the Minister,”she said.

According to the permanent secretary,”In order to reduce the workforce gap, government has recently approved a more seamless replacement and recruitment process as such the delays and bottlenecks of getting employment waiver approval is to some extent reduced. “

She spoke further:”The focus of the Government is to provide health care delivery system that is accessible and affordable, thereby achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and Universal Health Coverage. To achieve this, nurses have vital roles to play, Nurses in Nigeria must assume their rightful position in the health sector by maintaining adequate professional ethics and etiquette, and rendering quality nursing care to clients and patients at different levels of care.

The Ministry empathizes with civil servants for the hardship we all are facing due to the economic challenges and reassure you that it is a passing phase and Nigéria will surely rise

She assured the nurses that the Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare will continue to support the development of the nursing profession, urging members to remain faithful to the key values of their profession.