First, I will like to expatiate briefly what quackery is and what nursing is. Quackery is often used synonymously with health fraud. It’s a fraudulent or ignorant medical practice. And a quack is an individual or ignorant pretender of medical skills or a person who pretends, professionally or publicly to have skills, knowledge, qualification or credentials they do not possess.
The nursing profession is a profession within the healthcare sector that is focused on the care of individuals, families, and communities so that they may attain, maintain and recover optimal health and quality of life.
To explain who a nurse is, a Nurse is a person who has completed a program of basic generalized nursing education and is registered, licensed and authorized by the appropriate regulatory authority to practice nursing in his/her country and the regulatory body charged with the authorization in Nigeria, is the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria (NMCN).
On this note, with the full definition of who a professional nurse is, anyone who is not registered, licensed and authorized by the appropriate regulatory authority to practice nursing, and indulge in such fraudulent acts are termed or called a quack which is commonly known and called Auxiliary Nurse.
The accretion rate of these fraudulent practices in Kaduna state by these persons is alarming. Kaduna state, known for its reputation in valuing education with a lot of recognized institutions like the Prestigious Ahmadu Bello University, a first-generation university in the nation and the largest polytechnic in the Sub-Saharan Africa, which is the Kaduna Polytechnic. A state with a large number of academicians, you begin to wonder with this much exposure how has quackery been able to thrive.
Sadly, these quacks are being trained by professionals who have sworn an oat or pledged to always render quality care. These individuals are opportunist, they get these people (mostly drop out) who barely finish the basic primary school, or secondary school and trained them in their private hospitals and/or private schools where they perpetrate these acts.
Recently, these private schools admit then liaise with private hospitals to be training these people. They exploit these people and send them into the community, thus endangering the lives of Kaduna state citizens. They do not care about the victims of these acts, the goal is to enrich their own pockets to the detriment of people’s lives. They charge these ignorant individuals exorbitant fees, making them believe the training is geared towards becoming a nurse – lie!
These trained quacks, termed as auxiliary nurses are being recruited in private hospitals to render care or rather cause harm to the patient or client. They lack the evidenced-based practice to adequately render nursing services to patients. They pervert the health sector and cause more harm than good. The increase rate in maternal and neonatal mortality could be ascribed to these fraudulent practices as they lack the basis to identify or predict if a pregnant can go through the labor process to safely deliver her baby or not. As such, they allow her to go through the birthing process which will affect the mother and her unborn baby.
It’s disheartening seeing all these forms of malpractices happening in Kaduna state and being perpetrated by clinicians who are learned and well aware of the consequences of such practices to the health of the patients or clients.
I discovered there are a lot of factors surrounding the spread of quackery, from greediness by so-called professionals, ignorance, misinformation and lawless nature of Africans.
You see Unsuspecting parents being deceived that it’s the right way or thing to do, parents who were keen on seeing their wards or children in the nursing profession ignorantly enroll their children into such act. The lawless people are those who deliberately enroll themselves, blaming the government for lack of job and thus endangering the lives of patients or clients. It is heartbreaking that these practices are rampant and openly practiced within the Kaduna metropolis without fear of the law or guilt.
To my fellow Kaduna state citizens, our state is noted as the state with the highest number of accredited and recognized Nursing and Midwifery institutions charge with impacting scientific knowledge and skills to students who will later be registered and licensed to practice as a Professional Nurse.
These institutions include:
Department of Nursing, Ahmadu Bello University.
College of Nursing and Midwifery, Kafanchan.
School of Nursing, St. Gerard’s Catholic Hospital.
School of Nursing, Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Zaria.
School of Nursing, Wusasa.
School of Basic Midwifery, Tudun Wada.
School of Basic Midwifery, Zonkwa.
School of Post-Basic Nursing, Ear, Nose and Throat, Kaduna.
School of Post-Basic Ophthalmic Nursing, Kaduna National Eye Centre.
School of Psychiatric Nursing, Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Barnawa, Kaduna, and a lot of post basic programs in nursing offered by Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Zaria.
To the great of people of Kaduna state, remember, your health is your wealth. You need to shine your eyes and know that not all who wear white are nurses and also know that nurses are not trained in private hospitals. It’s an illegal and fraudulent practice. We shouldn’t risk our lives and the lives of our family by putting them in the hands of quacks commonly called auxiliary nurses. Before you allow yourself to be checked by a health worker who claimed to be a nurse, ask him which institution did he or she graduated from and is he/she registered and licensed to practice by the nursing and midwifery council of Nigeria, and also ask for his/her license.
It’s our collective responsibility to report to the appropriate authority (the government) anytime we come across people who train such elements, private clinics or hospitals and schools that indulge in such fraudulent activities. Doing such will go a long way in curbing such menace and protecting ourselves and others from the exploitation of such opportunists and also protecting our lives from these silent killers called quacks (auxiliary nurse).
The community leaders who are the custodian of their people have turned a blind eye to such practices for a long time. Some of them do encourage such practices. As such, our community leaders need to do the needful by being watchful of the happenings in their domain and to report any sharp practices to the relevant authorities. The community leaders need to sensitize her people about the menace of such practices and to discourage the acts.
The ministry of health should be proactive and sit up, start-up their games to curb this menace because with the fraudulent practices perpetrated by this people openly shows that the ministry of health and the hospital management board of the Kaduna state has slacked in its duties, as these private clinics or hospitals get their approval from the ministry of health. On this note, I called on the ministry of health to face the bull by the horn by being proactive and protecting the lives and health of the citizens of Kaduna state. Surveillance should be instituted on all private clinics in the state and any clinic or hospital caught should be dealt with accordingly.
I believe in the government of Kaduna state, as our able governor is an individual who believes in reformation and changing things positively. With his stride in all sectors shows that the lives of the citizens of Kaduna state matters. With the revamping of the primary health care system in the state, I am sure revamping and reforming the entire health sector of the state won’t be a hard task for him.
My call to him is to reform the health sector the way he did to the educational sector. He should clamp hard on these opportunist individuals, private clinics or hospitals and the private schools (secondary school mostly) who are exploiting the citizen of Kaduna state for their selfish means.
Quackery in nursing is a menace, a virus that has to be killed, stopped and destroyed. If allowed to continue spreading, it will eventually swallow us up.
Idris Abdul Ahmed
Idris Abdul Ahmed, is a graduate Nurse from Department of Nursing, Bayero University Kano. An indigene of Kaduna State.