Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Medical doctors under the umbrella of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) have vehemently rejected the reported plans by the Federal Government to solicit the assistance of Chinese doctors in response to COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria.
NMA said the action is a great disservice to the morale of the long-suffering frontline health workforce and also demeans their sacrifices so far in the response against the pandemic.
It said that lack of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), grossly inadequate test kits and test centres across the country, and the absolute lack of any form of insurance for the workforce are primordial issues begging for attention at this time and not the option of importing Chinese doctors.
Its president, Dr Francis Faduyile, in a statement released in Abuja, on Sunday, alerted the decision-makers that such action is in complete violation of the extant laws regulating the practice of medicine in Nigeria as enshrined in the Medical and Dental Council Act and they would resist it.
“Besides, it’s an embarrassment to health workers who, so far, have given their best in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic under deplorable working conditions, and a fragile health system to be subjected to the humiliation of not being carried along in arriving at such a decision,” he said.
NMA also alerted the government that the spike in cases and the death toll from COVID -19 in Italy coincided with the arrival of the Chinese doctors in the guise of offering assistance, insisting that such mistake should not be made in Nigeria.
The umbrella body of medical doctors in Nigeria rather asked that the government should declare a state of emergency in the health sector because the COVID-19 situation has exposed the lapses in Nigeria health care system.
NMA suggested that the period of the state of emergency should be used to fix the health care system in Nigeria as a matter of urgency in a bid to stem the rot.
It also urged the government to expand the Presidential Task Force on the Control of COVID-19 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 Nigeria.