The Nigerian Medical Association NMA, has said it is disappointed by the federal government’s plan to invite Chinese doctors into the country to tackle the deadly coronavirus pandemic.
The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire had, on Friday April 3 during a briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja, disclosed that 18 Chinese medics would soon arrive in the country to assist in the fight against COVID-19.
Reacting in a press statement, the President of the NMA, Dr Francis Faduyile described the decision as embarassing and demoralising to its members and other health workers who are giving their best in the fight against COVID-19 under deplorable conditions and fragile health system.
Faduyile said the government should rather show appreciation by channelling the available resources and donations to improving testing facilities to detect more cases and ramp up capacity to train more workers.
He added that medical and specialist practitioners who are either unemployed or underemployed be engaged, instead of bringing foreigners who do not understand Nigeria’s terrain, culture and peculiar challenges.
The statement partly reads: “It is a thing of embarrassment to the membership of the Association and other health workers who are giving their best in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic under deplorable working conditions, and a fragile health system to be subjected to the ignominy of not being carried along in arriving at such a decision.
“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 are therefore profoundly dismayed to learn that the Federal Government is instead inviting the Chinese who are not out of the woods themselves. The spike in cases and the death toll from COVID -19 in Italy coincided with the arrival of the Chinese in the guise of offering assistance. Even the United Nations has only just recently commended the efforts of Nigeria so far.”
“We expect the Government to show appreciation by channeling the available resources and donations to improving testing facilities to detect more cases and ramp up capacity to train more workers.
“We are aware of a large pool of General Medical and Specialist Practitioners who are either unemployed or underemployed that can be engaged instead of bringing foreigners who aside from national security concerns may not be conversant with Nigeria’s culture, terrain and peculiar challenges.
“The provision of adequate PPE, 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 we are beginning to witness community transmission of COVID 19 is equally a better application of scarce resources.”
The association further urged the Government to “expand the Presidential Task Force to include other critical stakeholders including journalists and the civil society to ensure more robust engagement, especially as the decisions of the task force, has implications for the health, wealth and security of our country.”
“The Association, however, expects that the Government would rescind the decision in the overall interest of the country.
“The NMA 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.” NMA added.
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