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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Nurses, Doctors defer on NMCN Leadership

Mixed reactions have continued to trail the recent Federal Government agreement with the medical workers, especially on the issue of the chairman of Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria, which is a parastatal of the Federal Government established by Act Cap. No.143 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
The council is the only regulatory body for all cadres of nurses and midwives in Nigeria, with the objective of ensuring high quality nursing and midwifery education, among others.
The NMCN Act gives the health minister the discretionary power to appoint the chairman of the council, while it is also specific on the qualification of other members that should constitute the council.
However, the Act does not state that the appointee must be from the nursing profession.
Based on this, the government had appointed a medical doctor, Mrs. Abisola Clark, as the chairperson of the council.
During the negotiation between the government and the then striking health workers, the issue was brought up, and the Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, promised to rectify it.
He had said, “Those are some of the errors that can sometimes happen along the line. I believe that government will make amends where necessary.”
But many stakeholders have disagreed with the minister’s position, which seems to suggest that the government erred by appointing a doctor as the NMCN chairman.
A director in the Federal Ministry of Health who spoke on the condition of anonymity said the issue was not there before now, as the council had been moribund, with the last occupant of that position being Mrs. Rebecca Aikhomu.
The source said that in the past, a nurse had served as the minister of health, while Ms. Funke Adedoyin, an economist, was once a minister of state for health.
In his reaction, Abuja based lawyer, Mr. Kayode Ajulo, said the law setting up the council gave the minister the power to appoint anybody as the chairman.
He said the issue should be about the competence of the appointee, and not his professional background.

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