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Covid -19: Group raises alarm over importation of Chinese doctors to Nigeria

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A group has condemned the importation of Chinese Doctors and experts into Nigeria to assist in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria, saying it is illegal and contradicts the Medical and Dental Practitioners Act, Cap. M8, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 .

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In a statement issued by Lifeline Centre for Medical and Health Rights Advocacy (Lifeline Centre) in Abuja and signed by Professor Uwakwe Abugu, Notary Public (President) on behalf of board of trustees.

He said the offer was Greek and therefore must be rejected.

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The statement reads;”it is no longer news that the Federal Government has concluded plans to bring in some Chinese doctors to purportedly assist This move has elicited widespread objections and condemnation from relevant stakeholders in the Nigerian healthcare delivery system, notably the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) and the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ). adsbygoogle || []).push({}); These and other well meaning citizens who are opposed to this Greek offer from China are critical stakeholders whose views cannot be disregarded by any meaningful government as the Federal Government is bent on doing.

“Evidently, the Law on the registration of foreigners for the purpose of practising medicine in Nigeria as set out in the Medical and Dental Practitioners Act, Cap. M8, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 is clear and unambiguous. A foreigner who obtained a medical qualification from any institution outside Nigeria and who wishes to practice medicine in Nigeria must first satisfy the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria, that his qualification was obtained from an institution approved by the Council. Upon the satisfaction of this condition precedent, he must proceed to submit himself to a test, screening and other due diligence to satisfy the Council that his training, skill, competence and character are such as would not jeopardize the life and health of Nigerian patients.

“In this insalubrious episode, there is not yet any evidence that the doctors (so called) who are about to be rushed in and unleashed on Nigerian COVID-19 patients from China have met these condition sine qua non to interact with patients in Nigeria”.

He noted, “More worrisome is the fact that the records of COVID-19 infection, recoveries of patients and death so far in Nigeria, do not suggest that there is such emergency as to sidetrack the due process of the law for the protection of the same patients for whom these doctors are being brought in the first place.

“Lifeline Centre believes that there are more demanding healthcare challenges and emergencies in Nigeria now than the invitation of the Chinese doctors”.

He urged the Nigerian government, “There is no doubt that ventilators are not only critical to the treatment and recovery of all COVID-19 patients but, in fact, all critical intensive care cases. It may be estimated that Nigerian hospitals would require over 5million ventilators to adequately serve Nigerian patients. With the prevailing scarcity of ventilators worldwide, it would have been thought that the government would be creative enough to discuss with and empower willing local manufacturers such as Innoson Motors Ltd and others to venture into manufacturing ventilators for local use.

“Again, it is heart-rending that in Nigeria today there is no system of compulsory medical liability insurance and life insurance policies for all levels and classes of medical and healthcare personnel. Common sense would suggest that deploying energy and resources into these areas should appear to be more critical and same would serve as a morale booster for frontline caregivers who are daily risking their lives for the rest of us.

“It is abundantly clear that we lack enough Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for our medical personnel for the war against COVID-19, and other infectious diseases. One is persuaded to ask, what efforts are the government making in ensuring that there are enough quality equipment for our frontline caregivers, or are they relying on the used and disused ones from China? The intriguing thing here is that most of these equipment do not require rocket science for their manufacture locally. Given government’s creative engagement with local manufacturers, our case will be different”.

On sustainance, the group tasked the government to provide evidence of distribution of food and materials worth over N100 billion as stated by Minister of Information, Lai Muhammad,

“Most States in Nigeria are now in their second week of total lockdown. As uncaring as our different governments are, it is clear that no special arrangements were made for the sustenance of Nigerians, majority of whose food depend on daily income. The result is that restrictions on movement are only being adhered to in breach than in observance. It was almost after one week that the government started making uncoordinated, uninspiring and halfhearted attempts at distributing cash and other relief items.

“From all indications there appear not to be any clear modus operandi or clear cut scheme for reaching the right people in the distribution exercise. Few days ago a statement credited to the Minister of Information asserted that there were no hungry Nigerians because the government had distributed food and materials worth N100billion. May be only the Minister can provide data of the real hungry Nigerians that benefited from the acclaimed largesse”.

Lifeline Centre for Medical and Health Rights Advocacy (Lifeline Centre), a Not for Profit and a Non-Governmental Organization with the mandate of pursuing, promoting and enforcing the medical and health rights of Nigerians and championing advocacy for policy reforms and extracting professional accountability and best practice from medical and healthcare personnel is vehemently opposed to this idea for legal and strategic reasons.

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Group Urges FG To Ensure Affordable Access To Drugs For PWD

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The Diabetes Association of Nigeria, has called on the Nigerian government to ensure affordable access to fundamental care for people with diabetes(PWD).

Speaking during  sensitization exercise to commemorate the 2021 World Diabetes Day, National President of the Association, Dr Alkali Mohammed,  stated that access to care which include information, drugs, technology, and support is a right to all citizens and will go a long way to reverse the emerging ugly trend of the diabetic epidemic. 

“Diabetes has become a major global epidemic being the leading Non-Communicable Disease (NCD).There are 537million people living with diabetes globally and is projected to reach 743 million by 2030 unless urgent steps are taken. Almost 1 in 2 of the people living with diabetes are undiagnosed while 4 in 5  of them are  in the middle and low-income countries.

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 “In the year 2021,diabetes is responsible for 6.7million deaths. Although no reliable National Data is available in Nigeria, about 6 million Nigerians are  estimated to have diabetes.

“It is not an exaggeration to say that almost everyone in Nigeria has a relation or friend that is diabetic and might have lost one. This is only going to worsen unless concerted efforts are put in place,” he said.

He also called on government to develop appropriate policies to improve the presentation of type 2 diabetes and also improve screening to ensure timely diagnosis and prevention of diabetes related complications.

Mohammed urged for implementation mechanisms to engage with diabetes meaningfully in the development of policies to tackle diabetes. 

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He revealed that this year’s commendation of the event is  unique because of the  COVID-19 epidemic as people with diabetes have higher complications and mortalities among the infected patients.

The national president also added that this year also mark the 100 years since the discovery of insulin which was a breakthrough in the treatment of diabetes.

“However, despite the existence of insulin for a decade, 1 in 2 people in need of insulin globally cannot afford it. In Nigeria, the gap in access is even more as our health care system is mainly funded through out of pockets system.

“Additionally, the current economic realities and high inflationary trend is a major challenge to the effective management of diabetes as most patients cannot afford the minimum basic care since they do not have money,” he said.

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The World Diabetes Day is celebrated on the 14th of November annually to serve as the primary global awareness campaign of the diabetes world.

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UNICEF Organises Workshop On COVID-19 Vaccine For Journalists On Demand Creation

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The United Nations Children’s Fund(UNICEF) has organised a workshop for journalists  on ways  to support the Federal Government on COVID-19 vaccination exercise in Nigeria.

Speaking during a  Two Day Media Engagement Dialogue on Demand Creation for COVID-19 Vaccine organized in collaboration with the Child Rights Information Bureau of the Federal Ministry of information and Culture in Kano, Communication Specialist for UNICEF Nigeria, Geoffrey Njoku revealed that the vaccination exercise was slow in some states because the government were reluctant to provide  logistics  for the exercise.

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He therefore urged journalists in the country to use their various tools for advocacy to both Federal and state government to provide logistics and operational support for the delivery of vaccines to every part of the country. adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Njoku also added that Journalists have to be on the forefront of allaying fears amongst Nigerians who had  conspiracy theories about the vaccine, there creating vaccine hesitancy in many parts of the country.

While being optimistic that the workshop will avail the participants on the skills to use to ensure the increase of uptakes of the vaccine, Njoku urged the journalists to use data from World Health Organisation(WHO), UNICEF, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control(NCDC) and other reliable organisations to derive stories that will bring about positive impact on the vaccination exercise.

Also speaking while giving an opening remark, the WASH Manager, UNICEF Field Office, Kano, Rafid Salih stated that vaccine hesitancy have to be tackled hands down so as to avoid deaths caused by the virus.

Salih who was represented  UNICEF Chief of Field Office in Kano State, Maulid Warfa urged the journalists to use that same medium used to perpetrate misinformation about the virus, to propagate the fact to every part of the country.

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COVID-19 Misinformation: NOA Promises Collaboration With Paged Initiative To Battle Scourge

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The National Orientation Agency(NOA) has promised to work with the Participatory Communication Through Gender Development (PAGED) Initiative, a media and advocacy Non-governmental Organisation (NGO) to battle the issue of COVID-19 Misinformation in 19 Northern states of the country.

While the organisation paid a courtesy visit to the Agency, the Director General of NOA, Garba Abari stated that they were ready to collaborate with any organisation on the dissemination of information to curb the COVID-19 virus.

Abari who was represented by the Agency’s Director of Special Duties and State Operations, Mette Edekobi revealed that NOA was well equipped to carry out any awareness in the country as it has staff in all the 774 local government in the country.

“Our strength is the fact that we speak all languages. Our 774 officials are in their local government areas where they can speak the local languages and communicate with the people in the way that they will understand. We are predestined to do what we are doing,” he said.

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Abari who lamented that the Agency had to battle with the issue of fake information about the virus and its vaccine, added that collaboration with other organizations would help a great deal as many Nigerians do not believe in their leaders, no matter what they tell them.

“So we need Nigerians to hear from other people that do not come from the government and maybe that will make them believe,” he said.

Earlier while stating the reason for their visit, the Programme Director, Paged Initiative, Ummi Bukar, said her NGO was there to ascertain the challenges NOA has encountered in the dissemination of information about COVID-19 and where the organisation can come in to assist curb the pandemic.

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“In terms of COVID-19 media response, what we want from NOA is to know the gaps you have encountered that you will need the media to help address because there are still a lot of people who do not believe that COVID-19 exist. There is a lot of mis-information out there. We are have a lot of media partners across the 19 states that can help in this aspect,” she said.

Bukar added that her NGO in collaboration with European Union and Free Press have helped push for participatory development to ensure that the needs of the communities were met.

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Abdulrahman Obaje
Abdulrahman Obaje
Prince Abdulrahman Obaje is a Media and ICT Consultant, Journalist, online marketer, social media strategist, Mathematician and Computer Scientist based in Abuja, Nigeria. He is the Founder and the Publisher of The Informavores!. You can reach me on +234 805 939 5252 or send i-witness report directly to me on news@informavores.com.ng.

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