Mr Hassan Zaggi, President of Association of Nigeria Health Journalists (ANHEJ), has advised the Federal Government against accepting medical team from China to fight Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country.
Zaggi, who gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, said that Nigerian health experts could handle COVID-19.
The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, had on Friday at Ministerial Press briefing on COVID-19 announced that 18-man team of Chinese medical experts would soon be coming to support the country.
The medical team, comprising doctors, nurses and public health advisers, are coming to the country courtesy of a group of Chinese companies working in Nigeria.
“We appreciate China for accepting to come and support our effort in containing COVID-19 in Nigeria.
“However, in my opinion, I don’t think we need them; we do not need China.
“As it is now, our health experts are not overwhelmed; they are doing well as far as I am concerned in handling the pandemic in Nigeria.
“Even though our confirmed COVID-19 cases are rising on a daily basis, however, when you also take a cursory look at the efforts of our medical experts, you will discover that they are doing well.’’
Zaggi noted that some medical experts and the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) had earlier called on the government to take a different approach in combating the disease.
He said that even though the Chinese doctors had some experience in handling COVID-19 because it originated from them, Nigerian doctors had been doing exceptionally well in managing the situation here.
“The only thing the Federal Government needs to do is to provide the enabling environment for our medical and health professionals in the country.
“There should be incentives that will motive them to put in their best.
“Considering the risk involved in managing the COVID-19, our medical experts should be given life insurance and good allowances, bearing in mind that they are currently working 24/7,’’ he said.
Zaggi expressed optimism that medical experts in the country which treated Ebola would do their best in curbing the pandemic.
“As I mentioned earlier, our medical experts only need enabling environment and motivation; with well equiped health facilities and secured environment, our medical team have the capacity to do wonders at this crucial moment.
“ANHEJ is excited with level of financial and material support coming from wealthy Nigerians, corporate organisations, including religious bodies, for fight against the COVID-19,’’ he said.
The official, however, called on the Federal Government to ensure the judicious use of the funds, block all avenues of wastages, misappropriation and even outright embezzlement
“State governments should also mobilise similar funds in their various states so that they can be fully prepared for any eventuality.
“States that are yet to record COVID-19 cases should tighten all loose areas and entry points and ensure that they sustain the tempo and continue to remain without a case.
“ They should prepare in case the unexpected happens,’’ he said
Zaggi also urged the Federal Government to recruit more hands to assist in contact tracing of all those who are suspected to have had contact with any suspected cases.
“I, therefore, call on all Nigerians to support all initiatives put forward by the government at both the federal and state levels in an effort to halt the spread of the disease.
“With our collective support and cooperation, very soon, COVID-19 will be a thing of the past,’’ he said. (NAN)