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Medical Law

FG Raises Enrolment Quota in Nursing Institutions to 100,000 Annually

The Federal Government has promised to increase the enrollment quota in nursing institutions in the country from 68,000 to 100,000 yearly as part of efforts to curb the brain drain threatening the health sector.

The Minister of State for Health and Social Welfare, Dr Tunji Alausa, who disclosed this at the 1st matriculation ceremony of the National Diploma in Nursing by the College of Nursing Sciences, National Orthopaedic Hospital, Igbobi, Lagos, urged the health workers to be patient with the government.

The 120 students drawn from the College of Nursing Sciences of the tertiary health institution are for the 2023/2024 academic session.

Alausa, while administering oaths to the matriculating nursing students, said the Federal Government was taking decisive decisions to address the issue of human resources challenges in the health sector.

The Nigerian Medical Association in 2023 said the nation is heading for a catastrophic human resources crisis in the health sector if the current migration rate of medical and dental practitioners overseas is not reversed immediately.

The NMA noted that the poor and unfavorable working conditions were major reasons why the practitioners were leaving the country.

The minister, however, noted that the welfare package for health workers is of utmost priority to the Federal Government, assuring them that they will get a good deal going forward.

Alausa said, “I am giving you very verifiable data. When we came in as a government, we were enrolling just about 28,000 nursing students across all our nursing training institutions in the country.

“Today, we are enrolling 68,000 nursing students annually in all our nursing training institutions in the country, and before the end of the year; we will be enrolling over 100,000 students.

“We have expanded our training instructions; we have added more to it; we are bringing new ones on stream as well and the existing ones we have expanded the capacity.”

The minister said the Registrar of the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria was working with them in their expansion strategy.

He said the Federal Government was leveraging the country’s large population to produce more human resources.

“This is what President Bola Tinubu wants and this is what he has mandated us to do and that is what we are doing.

“Also, beyond expanding our capacity in training nurses, we have also expanded our capacity in all specialties of medicine. We have doubled the enrollment in the medical school, pharmacy school, medical and laboratory school, and all health-related fields.”

The minister stated that the government was working assiduously to improve the welfare of health workers in the system to retain them.

He urged the matriculating nursing students to be committed to delivering quality healthcare to Nigerians and not to be carried away by the japa syndrome.

He charged the management of NOHIL to increase the number of nursing students admitted into the college of nursing to 600 annually while appealing to health workers and other Nigerians to be patient with the President.

In his remarks, the Medical Director, NOHIL, Dr Mustapha Alimi, commended the minister for his support in making the establishment of the College of Nursing Sciences at the institution possible.

Alimi said, “On the 30th of March, 2022, the Minister of State for Health and Social Welfare, Dr Tunji Alausa was the board chairman of this great institution.

“On that particular day at that meeting, the honorable minister charged the medical director to go and establish a college of nursing so that we can address the recurrent poverty of nurses in the country.

“He gave three reasons. One is that we would be educating the teaming youths of Nigeria who constitute the majority of our population.”

Alimi listed the provision of economic emancipation for the nurses as well as addressing manpower shortage in the health sector as other reasons for establishing the College of Nursing School at the orthopaedic hospital.

He, however, appealed to the Federal Government for more infrastructure for optimal impact on the students and the health sector in general.