Nigerian Medical Association explains why it is against invitation of Chinese doctors to fight COVID-19, lists what government should do

The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), the umbrella body of doctors and dentists in the country, has opposed plan by the federal government to invite a Chinese medical team to help in the fight against coronavirus.

The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, on Friday, had said an 18-man team of Chinese doctors, nurses and medical experts would arrive in Nigeria in a few days to assist in the fight against COVID-19. The plan has continued to attract criticisms rom Nigerians and professional bodies in the country.

Aside the NMA, the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) and other individuals in the country have kicked against the plan. They posited that Nigerian doctors are doing exceptionally well in combating the pandemic and there is no need to import personnel from China.

NMA in a statement by its president Dr Francis Faduyile, described the invitation as "ill-timed" and inappropriate and an "embarrassment" for Nigerian doctors and health workers who are fighting the pandemic "under deplorable working conditions."

It also raised concerns over the impact a similar visit by a Chinese team had in Italy. "The spike in cases and death toll from COVID-19 in Italy coincided with the arrival of the Chinese in the guise of offering assistance," NMA said.

"We are profoundly dismayed to learn that the Federal Government is inviting the Chinese who from available accounts are not out of the woods themselves. Even the United Nations has only just recently commended the efforts of Nigeria so far," the NMA statement read.

"The Association believes that this invitation is ill-timed and of no overbearing significance considering that whatever experiences the Chinese have can be shared by digital technology through conferencing," the statement added.

"In rejecting the invitation of the Chinese doctors, the NMA would instead urge the Federal Government to review and approve better welfare incentives to the frontline medical personnel."

It also advised the government to recruit from the "large pool of general medical and specialist practitioners who are either unemployed or underemployed instead of bringing foreigners who aside from security concerns may not be conversant with our culture, terrain and peculiar challenges."

The NMA advised the government to do the following:
1. Provision of adequate personal protective equipment.
2. Opening and properly equipping more isolation centres and health facilities across the country is an excellent first step.
3. Deployment of more resources to facilitate testing as we are beginning to witness community transmission of COVID 19 is equally a better application of scarce resources.
4. Government should declare a state of emergency in the Health sector and use the opportunity to fix health institutions.
5. Government should expand the Presidential Task Force to include other critical stakeholders including journalists and the civil society to ensure more robust engagement.

Also the NUJ in a statement signed by its National President Chris Isiguzo, and the National Secretary, Shuaibu Usman Leman, said, "while some have applauded the way and manner China contained the virus in Wuhan – the only Chinese city to be so affected, we hasten to note that there is more to this charade than is being let out by the Chinese authorities, and we reject a situation where Nigeria will be used as a Guinea pig for any experiment".

"The attempt to import Human resources for Health from China into Nigeria where many qualified medical doctors and other cadres of health workers are yet to be gainfully employed is the height of insensitivity and disservice on the part of the Federal Government and their advisers," President of the National Association of resident Doctors (NARD), Dr Aliyu Sokomba, said in a statement rejecting the government's decision.

The post Nigerian Medical Association explains why it is against invitation of Chinese doctors to fight COVID-19, lists what government should do appeared first on Neusroom.