Abubakar: PAMO University Maintains Excellence in Nurses, Midwives Training

In this interview with journalists during the first induction/oath-taking ceremony for newly graduated nurses at the PAMO University of Medical Sciences, Port Harcourt, the Registrar/Secretary General, Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria, Alhaji Farouk Abubakar, rated the university high. Blessing Ibunge shares​ excerpts:

Today, you will be adding more members​ from PAMO University of Medical Sciences to the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria, how significant is the event to the council?

From the beginning of this journey that is exactly five years back when the National Universities Commission (NUC) granted approval to this world-class university and they indicated their interest to commence a programme for nurses which has been the major objective and reform agenda of the NUC to provide university nursing programmes all over the country.

The significance of this programme is a mark of joy to us, especially at the period when the country is facing a higher number of nurses and midwives leaving the country and universities of this magnitude and world class of its kind is adding to the number and that has significantly improved the workforce of Nigeria. I am confident that this university is now injecting highly competent nurses to the country.

What stands PAMO out?

PAMO is exceptionally high because it is founded with the mission of providing highly excellent qualified health professionals, nursing inclusive, plus other professionals to the country. From the beginning, NMCN provided advisory approval, provided accreditations and every professional technical advice is invested into the university. I want to say that PAMO is exceptional in the sense that they were able to inject graduates that underwent training within the limited time provided by law, provided by the NUC and NMCN. I believe it is another source of joy not only to the graduate nursing students, even their parents and the entire nation will also benefit and that is what will make PAMO University exceptional because other universities spend 7, 8 and 9 years before they graduate, but PAMO from the inception in early 2018 to now in 2022, we are injecting these highly competent graduate nurses into our health institutions.

How is Nigeria coping with the exodus of nurses?

It is no more news or hallucination that professionals, not only the nurses are leaving the country. But I want to tell you as a council that we have made adequate arrangements in order to checkmate this high level of brain drain affecting Nigeria’s healthcare system. I want to tell you that NMCN has made adequate arrangements to close that gap by increasing the quota of intake in all the training institutions. We have also approved the establishment of more colleges, more universities approved by the NUC. We have also facilitated their accreditations and we have also increased the quota of admission to universities, colleges of nursing so that more nurses and midwives will be trained and injected. More graduate programmes have already commenced in most of the universities. All these are parts of the preparations to close the gap. I want to say clearly that in the last nine months, over 9,000 nurses and midwives have left this country. So, we are not worried.​

What is the state of facilities in PAMO?

Without exaggeration, PAMO has invested heavily in terms of material, equipment and human resources for the training and I want to say that PAMO is one of the world-class universities that we can be proud of in this country that has provided the latest equipment and instruments needed for nursing education. Models were injected and procured by this university and that is making the training in line with the global trend. So as far as the injection and provisions of basic training equipment are concerned, they are excellent and that is why their accreditation status was full. When we visited the university, we were granted full accreditation status. We gave them the quota even above their initial admission because we give quota admission based on available human and material resources that are available in these universities. I want to make it clear without exaggeration that PAMO University can be equated with any university in the world you can think of in terms of training of nurses and midwives.​

What massage do you have for nursing and midwifery training programmes?

My message and advice is sustainability, and maintenance of the standards. NMCN will not compromise. The standard of training of nursing and midwives will remain strong and inject competent and qualified nurses and midwives that we are proud of. I want to tell you that nurses and midwives produced in Nigeria can be equated anywhere in the world and this can be attested by the higher number of our nurses that have been employed in Europe, America, Australia and all other parts of the world. My advice is that the training institutions should be able to maintain and sustain that standards.

What’s the council doing to encourage more males to become nurses?

As a council, I remember that the Board of Nursing and Midwifery Council at its 57th general meeting had taken a resolution directing that all institutions shall increase their admission of male nurses. At least, a minimum of 25 per cent cut-off should be given to males so that we will be able to allow them the opportunity in line with the SDGs which is talking about gender balance and not to be neglected on that. But certainly, the issue of gender in terms of admission where there are more females is predominant in the south and other parts of the country. If you go to the northern parts of the country, the ratio is almost 50-50 between male and female and that is why we took a resolution and directed the institutions to ensure that the minimum admission should be male. So, these are the measures that have been taken and we are committed to it.

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