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

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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