Laide Raheem, Abeokuta
Pathologists in Nigeria have lamented what they described as “usurping of their duties by political and commercial experts” in the fight against the spread of Coronavirus in Nigeria.
The president, College of Nigerian Pathologists (CNP), Professor Philip Olatunji, who spoke at a press conference on Wednesday, in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, also accused the Federal and state governments of “deliberate neglect of medical practitioners” in their various efforts at combating the pandemic.
He faulted the Federal government’s insistence on bringing the Chinese doctors into the country against the outcry from the public and major stakeholders, particularly the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA).
Olatunji insisted that there was no need to bring the Chinese doctors to Nigeria, arguing that the number of patients in Nigeria had not expanded beyond the number of available doctors in the country.
He alleged that health workers working in the front-line were being exposed to risk without adequate provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
“Sadly, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), the apex body of medical doctors and Medical and Dental Consultants Association, a body of specialist doctors are complaining of being sidelined, while the pathologists are left out of the laboratories.
“Political and commercial experts are being imported by internal collaborators to take this place of technical and professional experts. What manner of intervention can this be?
“Equally sad is the fact that our policy makers would appear to be deliberately sidelining our well-trained professionals and experts and making bogus announcements over the television and radio.
“Those of us who the government is forced to accommodate are working under harsh conditions, without insurance, in spite of the danger to which they are exposed,” Olatunji stated.
The CNP president, however, called on government at all levels to take advantage of the COVID-19 opportunity “to reset our button and prioritise healthcare.
“No country can be truly developed if its healthcare system is underdeveloped. This will not be the last pandemic; another will come. We must be prepared; our public health infrastructure, our laboratories and our healthcare workforce must be rebuilt so that the weakest among us has access to good healthcare,” he pointed out.
He also urged the government intensify its efforts at combatting the spread of Coronavirus, submitting “we must not get complacent. If we are consistent and can avoid a sustained community transmission and ramp up our response now, then we will weather this epidemic with minimal deaths and prepare for the inevitable future epidemic or pandemic.”