*Urges MDCN, others to thoroughly screen, verify status, qualifications of experts
By Joseph Erunke
THE Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, has said it was still opposed to the arrival of the Chinese medical experts in the country to help combat novel coronavirus.
This was as the organisation called on the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria, MDCN, and other health regulatory bodies in the country to subject the foreign medical practitioners to thorough screening.
The NMA, in a statement Thursday night, by its president, Dr Francis Faduyile and Secretary-General, Dr Olumuyiwa Odusote, respectively, also called on the federal government to publish the names, designations, and qualifications of the medical experts.
“We demand a thorough screening of the so-called medical team of experts by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) and other relevant regulatory bodies to verify their status, as we call on the Federal Government to publish the names, designations/status, and qualifications of the so-called medical experts,” it said.
In the statement, the organisation said,”We note that the consistent and progressive neglect of the health sector and health care workers have left the industry debilitated, leading to the mass exodus of healthcare workers for greener pastures. Those left behind are working “magic” with bare hands. We, therefore, believe this is the time to look inwards and deploy mobilized resources to strengthen our systems.”
The statement read in full: “The Nigerian Medical Association in furtherance of her responsibility to the Nigerian people wishes to reiterate her earlier stance on the rejection of the visiting Chinese “Medical Experts” at this time even as the Federal Government (FG) has rebuffed all entreaties. We wish to clarify our informed resistance to the visit by this team from China.
“We are not against the receipt of donor support and equipment. We rather are against pulling the wool over our eyes going by the recent statement issued by the Managing Director of the Chinese donor firm operating in Nigeria that the medical personnel will be treating Chinese workers in their facilities.
“We are taken aback at this statement as this is at variance with the information supplied by the Honourable Minister of Health. We wish also to ask when Medical expatriates started coming to the Sovereign States to treat her nationals? What happens to the Nigerians working in those facilities?
” We are aware that the Chinese team will provide “CCECC employees with critical and necessary healthcare assistance”, as stated by the Managing Director of CCECC.” It does not seem likely that the team will NOT have contact with Nigerian patients as the Presidential Task Force (PTF) would want to have us believe. CCECC has Nigerian workers among her employees.
“We call on all healthcare professionals to be wary of uncertified Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) from China.
“We demand a thorough screening of the so-called medical team of experts by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) and other relevant regulatory bodies to verify their status, as we call on the Federal Government to publish the names, designations/status, and qualifications of the so-called “Medical experts”.
“We note that the consistent and progressive neglect of the Health sector and health care workers have left the industry debilitated, leading to the mass exodus of healthcare workers for greener pastures. Those left behind are working “magic” with bare hands. We, therefore, believe this is the time to look inwards and deploy mobilized resources to strengthen our systems.
“The NMA in recent times has been at the vanguard calling on the Government to revive the health sector and trigger brain gain. The Government has continued to “shift the post” in explanation regarding this Chinese invitation. First, it was that these were mere donations, then to experts rendering assistance to set up test laboratories and now to the experts treating patients. No country allows foreigners to jump on their patients and manage without regulation.
” We are aware of the “Stride with Nigeria” mantra of the CCECC and their willingness to participate in the construction of two isolation centres in Abuja. This gesture is no different from that of Corporate Nigeria so far, including the world-class isolation centre constructed and donated by Guaranty Trust Bank to the Lagos State Government without the help of Chinese experts. Unless there is something else, we don’t know.
“We wish to respectfully request the Presidential Task Force to deal with the genuine concerns of her people including all the professional bodies that have spoken out against this curious decision to engage the Chinese at all cost. A recipient of donations is still at liberty to pick and choose.
” We will continue to monitor this uncomfortable relationship with the so-called Chinese personnel. We shall not hesitate to do whatever is necessary to protect our long-suffering fellow citizens against any form of medical exploitation.
” We reaffirm our belief in the ability of the Nigerian healthcare professionals especially those at the frontlines to continue to do their best for our country as we continue to reject this “Greek Gift” from CCECC at this time.
” The NMA membership despite the provocation by the Government will not abandon our countrymen at this hour of need. We, however, call on all men and women of goodwill to mount pressure on the Government to provide adequate PPE to the frontline healthcare workers and not share it among the political class who are not facing similar risk like the frontline workers.
” The NMA as an umbrella body of medical and dental practitioners, and in accordance with the Physicians Pledge dissociates herself from the purported consultations with any politician/group of politicians on any position we take on the Covid-19 pandemic. We are minded by altruistic intentions for the good of our country.
“We advise our members to be on alert for further directives as events unfold.”