The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) Sunday rejected the Federal Government’s invitation of Chinese doctors into the country under the guise of offering assistance on how to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement signed by its president, Dr. Francis Faduyile, the NMA expressed total disappointment with the federal government’s decision to invite Chinese doctors into the country at this time of a global pandemic.
The body said: “It is a thing of embarrassment to the membership of the Association and other health workers who are giving their best in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic under deplorable working conditions, and a fragile health system to be subjected to the ignominy of not being carried along in arriving at such a decision.
“The lack of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), grossly inadequate test kits and test centres across the country, and the absolute lack of any form of insurance for the workforce are primordial issues begging for attention at this time.
“We are, therefore, profoundly dismayed to learn that the federal government is instead inviting the Chinese who from available accounts are not out of the woods themselves. The spike in cases and the death toll from COVID -19 in Italy coincided with the arrival of the Chinese in the guise of offering assistance. Even the United Nations has only just recently commended the efforts of Nigeria so far.
“The Association notes with grave concern that the government did not take into consideration the extant laws regulating the practice of medicine in Nigeria as enshrined in the Medical and Dental Council Act. This is one such circumstance where the Medical and Dental Council of Nigerian should be consulted to grant necessary approvals to foreigners to interact with Nigerian patients.
“The Association appreciates the commendable work done by doctors and health workers at the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the various isolation centres across the country. It expects the government to show appreciation by channelling the available resources and donations to improving testing facilities to detect more cases and ramp up capacity to train more workers.
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“The Association is aware of a large pool of General Medical and Specialist Practitioners who are either unemployed or underemployed that can be engaged instead of bringing foreigners who aside from national security concerns may not be conversant with our culture, terrain and peculiar challenges.”