The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, on Monday reacted to the mounting opposition against health experts expected to arrive from China to assist Nigeria to fight COVID-19.
He explained that the role the Chinese health experts would play when they arrive Nigeria would be to support Nigeria’s capacity in managing the pandemic on an advisory basis, while drawing from the experience of the Chinese.
Mustapha, who is the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, spoke during a briefing in Abuja.
There has been mounting opposition, both from health professionals and other Nigerians, against Chinese experts coming to assist the country in the COVID-19 fight.
But Mustapha, at the briefing, noted that all the countries being ravaged by the novel coronavirus were all seeking for help including the United States (US).
He explained that the health experts from China were expected in the country on the invitation of a Chinese company, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC).
“I wish to clarify that all the countries of the world are seeking assistance and are receiving help in the fight against COVID-19 – even the United States is looking for help elsewhere.
“The support coming from China is a cooperate social responsibility initiated by CCECC, a company with a total volume of infrastructural contracts in Nigeria worth over N10 billion,” he said.
On concerns and reactions Nigerians have expressed over the expected Chinese health experts, especially from resident doctors and other medical professionals in the country, Mustapha clarified:
“The professionals that have been invited by CCECC through their apparent company in China to come are public health specialists and medical engineers that will support Nigeria’s capacity in managing the pandemic on an advisory basis … while drawing from the experience of the Chinese.
“In no way shall there be case management and interface with patients. They would train our manpower, advise on procedures and methods, install and test the equipment donated before handing them over for our technicians to begin to use them.
“I, therefore, use this medium to appeal to our medical professionals to see the positive aspect of these gestures as an extension of development in the field of medicine.”
The SGF said CCECC intended to import a large number of equipment and items including 1,300,000 medical masks, over 150,000 pieces of Personal Protective Equipment, as well as 50 medical ventilators into the country.
According to him, the company had also proposed to sponsor public health experts to help strengthen Nigeria’s public health capacity and advise on processes and procedures.