Dr. Osagie Ehanire, Minister for Health (r), and Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director-General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), at a recent media briefing

COVID-19: Invitation to Chinese doctors illegal, suicidal -NARD

* All doctors coming in must be licensed ─Medical and Dental Council 

* NMA, TUC kick against move to invite Chinese

* Nigeria not doing badly in efforts at managing Coronavirus crisis ─TUC
Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect
Following the outbreak of the deadly Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the country, the Nigerian medical doctors under the aegis of Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors, NARD, have warned of the consequences of inviting Chinese nationals by the Federal Government.

ConsumerConnect reports that the association, which claimed that throwing the country’s international borders to Chinese at this critical moment is suicidal, has accused the government of championing illegality by its intention.

Sokomba Aliyu, NARD President, in a statement Sunday, April 5 said: “We find it rather curious that our government would contemplate to throw open her international borders to Chinese nationals, having watched how similar action in Italy proved socio-economically suicidal.

“The crafty Chinese scientists should be the last group of friends to trust at this time, given how unreliably and covertly they have managed the information around the pandemic beginning from the data around its origin, characteristics, and other virulence features to help the nations yet to experience the surge to be better prepared.

“We should not lose sight of the fact that conspiracy theories have it that COVID 19 is a possible tool for both sociopolitical and economic manipulation and domination.”

The Association stated that “Nigeria is too important on the African continent to act any carelessly in the face of this emerging but potent threat to human existence.

“The attempt to import Human resources for Health from China into Nigeria where many qualified medical doctors and other cadres of health workers are yet to be gainfully employed is the height of insensitivity and disservice on the part of the Federal Government and their advisers.

“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.

NARD argued that “some countries even went ahead to accelerate the graduation of their final-year medical students.

“They did not turn to China. If the FG had completely employed the available qualified doctors and other healthcare workers before turning to China for medical manpower to fill any persisting gap; it would have being less suspicious.”

Stressing its condemnation of the government’s move, the Association stated that it wished “to holistically cross-examine the intent and purpose of the importation of 18-man Chinese team of medical experts including doctors, nurses and those with sundry expertise to assist Nigeria in the fight against COVID-19.”

“The association is, indeed, puzzled that the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Health would be contemplating such an adventure without first discussing it with the key and relevant stakeholders like the Nigerian Medical Association; our parent body; and all her relevant affiliates that parade some of the world’s best hands in all fields of endeavor,” the statement added.

According to NARD, “the Federal Government cannot be championing illegality. All doctors coming into Nigeria are supposed to be licensed by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria.

“I am sure these ones are not,” NARD President declared.”

Meanwhile, the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) has also advised the Federal Government not to invite Chinese doctors to assist the country in combating Coronavirus pandemic.

Mr. Quadri Olaleye, President, and Mr. Musa Lawal-Ozigi, Secretary-General of TUC, gave the advice in a statement in Lagos, Sunday, April 5.

Agency report says the union leaders said that the move to invite the Chinese doctors was unnecessary, saying that those in Nigeria were on top of the challenge.

TUC emphasised in the statement that “as an organisation, we sincerely appreciate the Chinese authority for releasing their doctors and some of their best hands in spite the catastrophic effect the virus had on their country recently.

“However, it is important to state that the minimal number of people infected and deaths recorded is a proof that Nigeria is not doing badly in the efforts to handle the situation.

“Truly, the Chinese authorities have done well by not recording more cases in their country; it is novel and also shows their proactiveness and commitment to crises.

“That notwithstanding, we insist that we do not need them now.

“Rather, we shall continue to adhere to precautions by health professionals to make the job easy,” they said.

Additional reports by Alexander Davis and Gbenga Kayode

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