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Covid-19 in Nigeria

No Going Back On Inviting Chinese Doctors, But They Won’t Have Contacts With Patients – FG

Valentine Chinyem

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The Federal Government has said no going back on its decision to invite doctors and other health workers from China to assist in the fight against Covid-19 pandemic.

This is following opposing by many Nigerians, including the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) and the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD).

The group had urged the government to rescind the idea of inviting doctors from China where the pandemic began, threatening to embark on strike if the government goes on with the idea.

However, Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, while speaking during the briefing by the Task Force yesterday, described those opposing the idea as causing unhelpful controversy, saying that “this is a state of war against the coronavirus and time should not be devoted to unhelpful controversies.”

Mustapha emphasised that all countries of the world seek for and receive help in the fight against COVID-19, adding that the support coming from China was a Corporate Social Responsibility initiative by CCECC, a company with total value of infrastructure contracts worth $10 billion in Nigeria.

He noted that the Chinese medical personnel would not interface with patients or have a case management.

Rather, he explained that they would train Nigerian manpower, advise on procedures and methods, install and test the equipment donated before handling them over.

“One major support that has attracted public commentaries is the offer by CCECC, a Chinese company to import about 256 equipment and items in different quantities, notable among which are, 1,300,000 medical masks, over 150,000 pieces of assorted personal protective equipment as well as 50 medical ventilators. The company has also proposed to sponsor public health experts to help strengthen our public health capacity and advise on processes and procedures.

“However, I wish to clarify that all countries of the world seek for and receive help in the fight against COVID-19. The support coming from China is a Corporate Social Responsibility initiative by CCECC, a company with total value of infrastructure contracts worth $10 billion in Nigeria.

“The professionals that have been invited from China are public health specialists and medical engineers that will support Nigeria’s capacity in managing the pandemic on advisory basis when necessary, while drawing from the experience of the Chinese. In no way shall there be case management and interface with patients.

“They will train our manpower, advise on procedures and methods, install and test the equipment donated before handling them over.

“I therefore use this medium to appeal to our medical professionals to see the positive aspects of this gesture as an extension of development in the field of medicine. The PTF recognises and respects the competence and capability of Nigerian doctors and other medical personnel. This is a state of war against the coronavirus and time should not be devoted to unhelpful controversies.”

Also speaking at rhe briefing, the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, while giving update on Covid-19 in Nigeria, said the doctors from China would arrive Nigeria in a few days with a consignment of globally scarce medical supplies, as support for government effort as well as build capacity to contain the COVID-19 outbreak.