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Tuesday, April 07, 2020

COVID-19: Stop Chinese doctors now, leverage technology insists NMA - ITREALMS

Following disclosure that the Federal Government (FG) has invited some Chinese doctors to help in battling the pandemic of Coronavirus or Covid-19, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has advised the invitation be stopped so as to leverage technologies, reports ITREALMS.

“We fail to see how the 18-man team would impact the current efforts in any significant way,” NMA declared in a press statement available to ITREALMS.

According to NMA president, Dr. Francis A. Fadnyile, its imperative to leverage technologies, given that recently Director-General of National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) Dr. Chikwe Ihekweaza was in China and may withdraw services if FG insists on the 18-man Chinese invitation.

NMA, he said, is not averse to donations of equipment and supplies because “we can always do with such support as even in the developed countries receive support too.

NMA described with great dismay and utter disappointment, the invitation to Chinese doctors and is embarrassment to member of medical practitioners who are giving their best in the fight against Chinese Virus-19 also known as Coronavirus (COVID-19).

They noted that lack of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), saying its grossly inadequate test kits and test centres across the country as well as absolute lack of any form of insurance for the workforce are primordial issues begging for attention at this time.

NMA insisted in its rejection of the invitation of the Chinese doctors, urging the Federal Government to review and approve better welfare incentives to the frontline medical personnel instead.

The provision of adequate personal protective equipment, opening and properly equipping more isolation centres and health facilities across the country is an excellent first step. Deploying more resources to facilitate testing as Nigerians are beginning to witness community transmission of COVID-19 is equally a better application of scarce resources.

The Government should declare a state of emergency in the health sector and use the opportunity to fix our health institutions as a matter of urgency 'in a bid to stem the rot.’

The NMA urged the Government to expand the Presidential Task Force to include other critical stakeholders including journalists and the civil society to ensure more robust engagemer.t especially as the decisions of the task force has implications for the health, wealth and security of entire country.

“It is a great disservice to the morale of the long-suffering frontline health workforce if the Government goes ahead to invite these Chinese doctors. The invitation demeans their sacrifices so far in this pandemic. We fail to see how the 18-man team would impact the current efforts in any significant way.

NMA, however, expects that the Government would rescind the decision in the overall interest of the country, and would loathe reviewing her participation in the fight against COVID-19 considering the grave implications and the risk to the lives of her members should the Government go ahead with this ill-thought-out invitation at this time.

The Association remains committed to the Nigerian people and the Government. We support the efforts of our frontline health workers in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, and we expect reciprocate trust from the Government.

Nenye Dom/Editor

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