Tuesday 3 November 2020



Nurses under the aegis of University Graduates of Nursing Science Association has replied a retired Deputy Director of Health of Akwa Ibom State, Comrade Idoboise Nkanta, who said that nurses should not be allowed to work at Primary Health Centres (PHCs) and who described the presence of nurses at the PHCs as “Professional Banditry”.

In response to Comrade Nkata who had asserted that the Community Health Extension Workers (CHEWS) are authorized by law to prescribe drugs and treat illness like the Medical Doctors, UGONSA lamented that it was unfortunate that Nkanta, who is a CHEW tutor and a senior member of the CHEW community, choose to elevate idiocy to a ridiculous level.

In a statement by its National President and Ag. National Secretary, Chief (Hon) S.E.O. Egwuenu and Nurse P.O. Eteng, UGONSA said that Comrade Nkata as a CHEW tutor has unwittingly revealed that what they teach the CHEWs is that they are Medical Doctors of the “Communities” who are authorized by the law to prescribe and treat.

“No wonder the CHEWs are acting with impunity doing the work of the Nurses, the work of Pharmacists, the work of Medical Laboratory Scientists, the work of the Optometrists, the work of the Radiographers and the work of Medical Doctors, including doing surgeries, and in the process butchering Nigerians and sending many to an untimely grave”.

“In a saner society by now Comrade Nkata would have been behind bars for owing-up and admitting to the atrocities they have been carrying out against the health of the Nigerian public through illegal prescriptions and treatments”.

“All over the world, there is no place the Community Health Extension Workers is counted among the healthcare providers or allowed to do the work of the healthcare providers. But in Nigeria, the likes of Nkata is bold to write in the print media that CHEWs are empowered by the law to “prescribe and treat” and that the nurses are “professional bandits” who should not be allowed near their own home, the Primary Healthcare System.

“Globally, nursing is the cornerstone and heartbeat of the healthcare delivery system be it primary, secondary or tertiary healthcare delivery system. Nurses are not only among the frontline healthcare providers but are the central coordinating element of care that organizes the health system and other healthcare providers for efficient and effective care delivery such that if the healthcare delivery system is likened to a home, nurses would be said to be the mothers of the healthcare delivery system.

“All over the world, nurses do not need an introduction in the healthcare delivery system for people to understand who they are or what they do. It is the CHEWs that need an introduction because they are strangers in the healthcare delivery system who out of banditry are venturing into niches that were never meant for them in the Nigerian health system doing the work of the main healthcare providers which they never received training or license for.

“The World Health Organization (WHO) succinctly spelled out the role of the Community Health Workers like the CHEWs as “creating liaison (connections) between vulnerable populations and healthcare providers”. Unfortunately, it is only in Nigeria that the CHEW has abandoned their primary role as a “liaison” between vulnerable populations and the healthcare providers to become the healthcare providers themselves with the brazen impetus of calling nurses (the central coordinating healthcare providers) bandits in their own home (the healthcare delivery system).

UGONSA noted that prior to the invasion by the CHEWS, the Nigerian health system was ranked among the best in the world such that the Saudi Royal family sought treatment from the Nigerian Health System.

“Today the once-booming Nigerian Health system is in shamble because interlopers like the CHEWS have usurped the position of nurses by abandoning their roles as “liaison officers” for nursing practice which they never received education for, trained for, or licensed to practice.

“Ironically it is not only nursing practice that they have invaded. They have also invaded the roles of the Nigerian Medical Doctors who created them to spite the nurses.

“Today, the CHEWs do not only prescribe and treat as confessed by Nkata but also carryout surgical operations. Not recognizing any professional boundary they also intrude on the roles other healthcare professions such as Pharmacy, Medical Laboratory Science, Optometry, and so on.

reason, why they engage in this Professional banditry with audacity, is not far-fetch. Their tutors in the likes of Comrade Nkata teach them not only that they are superior to Nurses but that they are all the healthcare providers rolled into one who can render all the healthcare services such as diagnosis, prescription, treatment, nursing care, drug dispensary and so on.

“Alas, in the communities, they are now the Surgeon, the Physician, the Nurse, the Pharmacist, the Lab Scientist, the Radiographer, and the Optometrist all rolled in one such that they now wish that nurses are ostracized from the health system to the extent of having the effrontery to describe the presence of Nurses in the healthcare system as “professional banditry”.

UGONSA said that Nkata’s revelation of the decimation by the CHEWs of professional boundaries of healthcare delivery of the Nigerian health system is a wake-up call for the overhaul of the entire health system in line with international best practices. The association called on the Federal Ministry of Health to as a matter of urgency retrieve from the CHEWS the standing orders which they have misconstrued and mischaracterized as authority to “prescribe & treat” and which they now use as a free ticket to butcher life out of Nigerians via mismanagement of medico-nursing procedures they were not trained or licensed to perform.

“It is time to overhaul the Primary Healthcare system of Nigeria to operate in line with international best standard where Community Health Workers are liaisons between the vulnerable populations and the healthcare providers and not the healthcare providers themselves as the CHEWs arrogate to be in Nigeria” – the statement said. 


  1. Thumbs up.
    CHEWs are not health care providers but liasons.

  2. Excellent truth and emperical facts. Great response!! Thank you!!! They should know their boundaries and stop this grandiosity about their job description. They are only liason officers between the community and healthcare providers. Public health nurses are certified and licensed in the use of standing orders.

  3. It's quite unfortunate that people try to gain relevance by outsmarting others to the detriment of the populace. And to think that this happens in the healthcare sector is most disheartening. We all should be satisfied in playing our roles for the effectiveness of our healthcare. The CHEWS should be guided in their conducts and utterances.

  4. This one sweet me, such intelligent spewing

  5. This one sweet me, such intelligent spewing

  6. This one sweet me, such intelligent spewing

  7. I love this. By extension, we may need to take it a bit further by inviting Comr. Nkata for a Public debate on this matter and same fellow should be charged to court by NMCN for looking down on a profession such as nursing and naming us as Professional bandits. Let him come out and relate his perspective to the roles of a Nurse in primarily health care in Healthcare delivery system.