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Japa: Nurses Drag Nursing council, registrar to court over circular

Nigerian Nurses have dragged the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria, NMCN, to court over its recent circular for requesting verification of certificates for nurses and midwives to foreign nursing boards or councils.

Also joined in the suit as 2nd defendant is the Registrar/Secretary General of NMCN, Dr. Faruk Umar Abubakar.

DAILY POST recalls that the circular issued by Faruk on February 7, 2024, has been attracting mixed reactions from stakeholders.

The controversial circular, among other things, provides that, “Eligible applicants must have a minimum of two (2) years post qualification experience from the date of issuance of the permanent practising licence. Any application with a provisional licence shall be rejected outrightly.

“The Council shall request a letter of Good Standing from the Chief Executive Officer of the applicant’s place(s) of work and the last nursing training institution attended, and responses on these shall be addressed directly to the Registrar/CEO, Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria. Please note that the Council shall not accept such letter(s) through the applicant.”

Aggrieved nurses, under the auspices of Incorporated Trustees of University Graduates of Nursing Science Association, have now approached a Federal High Court sitting in Enugu, seeking a judicial interpretation of Faruk’s action.

The suit, with No FHC/E/CS/22/2024, was filed by the counsel to the plaintiffs, Barr Chijioke Ezeh.

The plaintiffs are seeking “a declaration that by the widest construction of the Nursing and Midwifery Registration Act ‘CAP N 143 L.F.N 2004) and other relevant extant applicable Laws, the 2nd defendant have no right whatsoever to issue or sign any circular and (or) directives in the exclusion and negation of the Board of Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria, Board of which was ipso facto dissolved by the President of Federal Republic of Nigeria on 19th June, 2023.

“A declaration that by the widest construction of the Nursing and Midwifery Registration Act ‘CAP N 143 L.F.N 2004). Chapter 4 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and other relevant extant applicable Laws, ALL DIRECTIVES as contained in the purported circular of Guidelines dated 7th February, 2024 as issued and signed by the 2nd defendant are unlawful, draconian, uncharitable, inconsiderate and unkind consequent upon which they are declared null, void and of no effect.

“An order compelling the 2nd defendant to open up and keep opened the portal of 1 defendant, rescind and cancel forthwith ALL such DIRECTIVES as contained in the purported circular of Guidelines dated 7th February, 2024 same being unlawful, null, void and of no effect.

“An order of perpetual injunction restraining the 2nd defendant from further signing or issuance of any other directives, instructions or circular in contradiction of the general intendments of Nursing and Midwifery Registration Act ‘CAP N 143 L.F.N 2004), Chapter 4 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and other relevant extant applicable Laws binding the operations of Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria.”

The nurses are consequently praying the court “to grant a general and aggravated damages of five million Naira (N5,000,000.00) only for strictures and discomfitures.”

No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.

Meanwhile, Ezeh, who spoke to journalists in Enugu on Sunday, said his clients went to court over alleged acts of impunity and arbitrariness perpetrated by Faruk, “wherein, acting under the auspices of his office, he has been issuing circulars that are repugnant to the tenets of his office and repugnant to the extant law that established the NMCN.

“We are saying that allowing that is making nurses in Nigeria to be subservient to the doctors, because those who are employers of nurses are mostly medical doctors.

“It is subservient for another profession to issue a letter of good standing; can’t the Nursing and Midwifery Council issue a letter of good standing for their own, why do it in such a manner that another profession will issue such letter?

“In one of the circulars, Farouk also said that no nurse will leave the shores of Nigeria without complying with certain prescribed rules; we are saying no, that the constitution is the grundnorm; the circular is an infringement on the right to freedom of association as guaranteed by the constitution.”

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Health

No fewer than eight persons die from strange illness in Sokoto – NCDC

The (NCDC) has said no fewer than eight lives have been lost out of 208 suspected cases of strange illness at Sabon Birni and Isa local government areas of Sokoto State.

NCDC Centre manager in Sokoto, Dr Ibrahim Usman revealed this in the presentation he made at an interactive session with officials of Sokoto State Ministry of Health and Director General of the Centre, Dr Jide Idris, Thursday.

Usman who made the presentation alongside his team said the NCDC and Sokoto State Government have collected samples that have been transported to higher laboratories for test to ascertain the disease.

“The illness manifested with symptoms such as abdominal distension, fever, vomiting and weight loss, primarily afflicting children aged four to 13, along with some adults.

“Already, the NCDC has deployed a National Rapid Response Team (NRRT), to collaborate with the State Ministry of Health to investigate the matter,” Usman said.

He added that the affected children were taken to Specialist Hospital in Sokoto for treatment, while residents of the affected areas were sensitised on the dangers of the mysterious illness and advised to report cases promptly.

According to him, interim results indicate varying levels of lead and chromium in blood samples, prompting scrutiny of local activities such as mining and agricultural practices involving chemical usage.

“The collaborative efforts extend beyond health institutions, encompassing government agencies, research bodies and community stakeholders,” he said.

He commended the efforts of Medical Doctors and other healthcare personnel in containing the spread as well as treatment of affected persons, “who are now responding to treatment.”

Earlier, Dr Larai Tambuwal, Executive Secretary, Sokoto State Primary Healthcare Development Agency (SSPHCDA) told the visiting team that complications from agricultural practices was being suspected.

She said other considerations should also be centered on climatic conditions, security challenges, sources of water, open dedication, poor healthcare response, malnutrition and other surrounding issues.

“This is not the first occurrence, as a similar incident occured in Tureta local government area of the state and was documented in 2023 without a conclusive diagnosis,” she said.

She added that with similar occurrence in neighbouring Zamfara state, there was need for more clinical assessment to obtain the real outcome of the infectious origins.

The Executive Director of Sokoto State Hospital Services Management Board, Dr Bello Attahiru, assured of more proactive measures to contain the disease and treatment of those infected.

Attahiru said a ward was allocated for victims of the illness alone in the hospital and many were recuperating.

In his address, NCDC Director General said that the search for causative factors continued, including heavy metal testing and assured to establish a standard laboratory located in Sokoto state.

While investigation into the disease continued, the DG solicited for more vigilance within affected communities.

Idris stressed the need for prompt reporting of symptoms to healthcare facilities or designated authorities.

According to him, NSCDC is collaborating with other agencies such as NAFDAC to unravel the disease to argument treatment towards preventing its spread.

He said all areas were being considered for unravelling the cause of the illness and enjoined people to enhance thier healthcare seeking behaviours, improve on thier personal hygiene, surrounding cleanliness and other health issues.

The Director General explained that his coming to Sokoto was part of the Federal Government’s commitment to provide succour to the victims and end the menace.

He also extended his condolences to the families affected by the outbreak and commended the dedication of healthcare workers and partnering organisations.

NAN reports that Idris and his team paid visits to Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar and Gov. Ahmed Aliyu of Sokoto state and commiserated with them over the ugly development. (NAN)

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Health

NAFDAC bans sale of Dex Luxury bar soap in Nigeria

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration Control, (NAFDAC) has placed a ban on the sale of Dex Luxury bar soap in Nigeria.

The agency explained that the ban was due to Butyphenyl Methylpropional, BMHCA, content in the product.

This was contained in a post on the Agency’s X handle on Thursday.

According to the post, the European Union, EU, banned the product due to the risk of harming the reproductive system of users, causing harm to the health of the unborn child, and cause skin sensitization.

“Although this product is not on the NAFDAC database, importers, distributors, retailers, and consumers are advised to exercise caution and vigilance within the supply chain to avoid the importation, distribution, sale, and use of the above-mentioned product”, the agency added.

 

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Health

No outbreak of Lassa fever in any local govt- Kogi Govt

Nigeria identifies three drugs for Lassa fever treatment

Kogi State Government has debunked any outbreak of Lassa fever across the 21 local government areas of the State.

Commissioner for Health in the state, Dr. Abdulazeez Adams Adeiza while reacting to a viral video of an alleged lassa fever outbreak, noted that a student who was admitted to the Federal Teaching Hospital Lokoja did not die of lassa fever.

According to the Commissioner, it was reported that the student died of hemorrhagic fever.

The Commissioner explained that the deceased student who was admitted at the Federal Teaching Hospital Lokoja presented complaints of fever and bleeding from the gum.

He added that the patient was being investigated and managed, while samples were taken and sent to Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, (NCDC) Abuja, but before the result was released, he had lost his life.

The Commissioner said the result came out to be negative for lassa fever.

In his words, ”the suspected case has turned out to be negative for lassa fever.

“It is not only lassa fever that can make a patient to present bleeding from the gum. Other reasons could include blood dyscrasias and bleeding disorders”.

He advised members of the public to disregard the report as no case of lassa fever has been reported in the state

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