By Amechi Idumuebor
Plans by the Nigerian Government to invite Chinese medical experts to help out in the fight against COVID-19 in the country has been frowned at by the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD).
Dr Aliyu Sokomba, NARD’s President, in a statement made available to Channels Television, advised the Federal government to absolve the large pool of medical practitioners already existing in the country, rather than the Chinese team.
Sokomba wondered why the Nigerian government would be backing an “illegality” knowingly fully well that any medical practitioner intending to practice in the country must be approved (licensed) by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria.
The NARD leader also saw as “insensitive” government’s preference for Chinese doctors when there were several unemployed medical practitioners lazing around in the country.
in his words, “The challenge at hand would have been sufficient marker to agitate the FG to the direction and timing for massive employment of medical and other health care workers to provide enough hands in the industry to battle the COVID 19 as other nations are doing”.
Osagie Ohanire, Nigeria’s Minister of Health had on Friday disclosed that China was sending in medical kits and doctors to aid the country’s ongoing efforts against the virus.
“I have been notified of gifts of medical supplies from China, courtesy of a group of Chinese companies working here in Nigeria. A special cargo aircraft shall leave Nigeria in a few days to collect the items which include commodities, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and ventilators,” he said during the briefing by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, adding that “Of great interest is that an 18-man team of medical experts, including doctors, nurses and public health advisers shall come along with the flight to assist us”.
NARD is, however, opposed to the proposed plan in its entirety.
“In the interim, NARD wishes to distance herself from the planned importation of Chinese medical experts to Nigeria in whatever guise or hood for the reasons presented in this write-up and many more,” Sokomba stated.
“NARD shall not contemplate further warning to distance herself from the Chinese adventure by way of withdrawing all her members from every public health facility in Nigeria so that the anticipated downturn in the output of Nigeria’s healthcare service delivery can be properly situated and traceable to the Chinese as is the case today in Italy.
“NARD hereby reiterates her position which was canvased earlier in the week for the FG to immediately and massively employ all qualified but unemployed doctors and other healthcare workers. Get them trained, insured, motivated and deployed nationwide”.