The Nigerian Medical Association has called for a thorough screening of the visiting Chinese medical team by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria and other relevant regulatory bodies.
The association made the call in a statement issued by its President, Dr. Francis Faduyile, on Friday in Abuja,
Faduyile said: “We call on all healthcare professionals to be wary of un-certified Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) from China.
“We demand a thorough screening of the medical team of experts by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) and other relevant regulatory bodies to verify their status.
“We further call on the Federal Government to publish the names, designations/status and qualifications of the Chinese medical experts.”
Faduyile reiterated the NMA’s earlier stance on the rejection of the visiting Chinese medical experts, adding, however, that the association was not against the receipt of donor support and equipment from the country.
He said: “We are rather 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 sovereign states to treat their nationals. What happens to the Nigerians working in those facilities?”
Faduyile said the NMA was aware that the Chinese team would provide “CCECC employees with critical and necessary healthcare assistance as stated by the managing director of CCECC.”
He said it was unlikely the team would not have contact with Nigerian patients as the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 would want to have the association believe, noting that the CCECC had Nigerians among its employees.
Faduyile said the association was aware of the “Stride with Nigeria” mantra of the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation and its willingness to participate in the construction of two isolation centres in Abuja.
He said: “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.
“We wish to respectfully request the PTF 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.”
Faduyile said the NMA had noted that the consistent and progressive neglect of the health sector and health care workers had left the industry debilitated, leading to the mass exodus of healthcare workers for greener pastures.
He said that those left behind were working “magic” with bare hands, adding that it was time to look inwards and deploy mobilised resources to strengthen the nation’s systems.
He said: “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.”
Faduyile said NMA would continue to monitor the situation and not hesitate to do whatever was necessary to protect Nigerian citizens against any form of medical exploitation.
He said: “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.”
He called on all men and women of goodwill to mount pressure on the government to provide adequate PPE to frontline healthcare workers and not share it among the political class who were not facing similar risk like healthcare providers.
He, however, disassociated the NMA from a purported consultation with any politician/group of politicians on any position it had taken on the C0VID-19 pandemic, saying: “We are minded by altruistic intentions for the good of our country.”