The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has rejected the federal government’s proposed invitation of an 18-member Chinese medical team to support the country’s fight against coronavirus.
The NMA President, Francis Faduyile, in a statement Sunday said the move is a misplaced priority. He described it as “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.”
The plan of inviting an 18-member team of Chinese medical experts to Nigeria has been criticised since it was announced Friday by health minister, Osagie Ehanire.
The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) had advised the federal government against the plan, saying it was unnecessary to invite Chinese doctors as Nigeria was already handling the crisis effectively.
But the Director-General of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Garba Abari, further clarified the reasons behind the visit
He said the Chinese medical team were only coming to share experiences with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and not to directly take charge of the fight against COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
According to him, they will be sharing experiences on how the pandemic was handled in China and giving expert suggestions to our medical teams.
“Whatever information the Chinese medical team makes available to NCDC will be filtered and applied to address the peculiar challenges of the country on handling the COVID-19 scourge.
“This is a global pandemic and from wherever assistance comes, you cannot reject it”, the official noted.
The clarification, however, did not stop Nigerian doctors from opposing the plan.
Rejecting the invitation, the NMA president said the government in arriving at the decision, 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”, Mr Faduyile explained.
He also said the association of Nigerian doctors was subjected to the “ignominy of not being carried along in arriving at such a decision”.