WE are proud of Nigerian medical doctors and health professionals who have unanimously rejected Federal Government’s plan to import 18 Chinese doctors to assist Nigeria in tackling COVID-19 spread in the country.
On Friday, April 3, 2020 the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, disclosed that a special flight would bring the Chinese doctors along with needed equipment such as ventilators, personal protective equipment, PPE, and other inputs.
The Medical and Dental Association of Nigeria, MDAN; the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA; Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors, NARD and the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, among others, kicked against the involvement of these foreign doctors as it was “unnecessary”.
They claimed that the authorities did not consult them before taking that decision, arguing that not up to five per cent of available work force had so far been mobilised, perhaps because of the relatively scant number of cases Nigeria has had when compared to many advanced countries.
They also threatened to withdraw all their members from the war against COVID-19 if the government went ahead with its plan.
Our solidarity is with our health professionals who have performed creditably well since the pandemic infiltrated the country. They have generally re-enacted the competence with which they successfully managed the Ebola Virus Disease, EVD, outbreak in 2014, which made many countries to send delegations to understudy the Nigerian model.
Even the Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria, MDCAN, which went on strike on February 24, 2020, and the NARD which had also been on strike over poor wages have deployed their members back to work to face the coronavirus emergency. That is very patriotic and commendable.
Our government should learn to have a little more regard for our home-grown professionals, especially those in the medical, scientific and engineering sectors. This craze for foreign goods and services must stop.
The Presidential Task Force, the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, and medical professionals assembled by the Federal and State Governments to lead the war against COVID-19 have done a good job so far. However, the FG should consult with stakeholders before taking crucial decisions to avoid rupturing our collective efforts to win this war against a deadly and invisible enemy.
What we need is medical equipment and inputs. So, we should accept the Chinese equipment, provided they are thoroughly screened and certified free of infection. We hope the Federal Government will sort out its difference with the health specialists. We do not need any other unnecessary distraction.
We are very confident that with proper equipment, adequate motivation, the enabling atmosphere and the cooperation of Nigerians, our health experts will defeat coronavirus resoundingly.
We should only call for external help when the on-the-job professionals advise it.