Nigerian doctors reject plan to invite Chinese medical team to curb Covid-19
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Johannesburg - The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has rejected the federal government's invitation to a Chinese medical team to assist in the fight against the coronavirus (Covid-19).
Nigeria currently has 232 confirmed cases of Covid-19, with five deaths registered. Thirty-three people have recovered from the virus.
"It is 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, and a fragile health system, to be subjected to the ignominy of not being carried along in arriving at such a decision," said NMA president Francis Adedayo Faduyile via a statement.
He said the lack of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), inadequate testing kits and test centres nationwide needed urgent attention. The NMA was thus "dismayed" to learn that instead of attending to these issues, the government had invited a Chinese medical team to deal with the virus.
The NMA has urged government to expand the Covid-19 presidential task force (PTF) to include other critical stakeholders, including journalists and civil society, to ensure more "robust engagement".
The Daily Trust reported that the Nigerian health minister, Dr Osagie Ehanire, announced the invite to the Chinese doctors, nurses and other health care workers at the PTF's fifth joint national briefing on the virus.
Ehanire also said a group of Chinese companies working in Nigeria had donated medical supplies to support measures to curb Covid-19. The donation included PPE and ventilators, said the minister.
"I have been notified of medical supplies from China, courtesy of a group of Chinese companies working here in Nigeria. A special cargo aircraft shall leave Nigeria in a few days to collect the items which include commodities, personal protective equipment and ventilators.
"An 18-man team of Chinese medical experts including doctors, nurses and other medical advisers shall come along with the flight to assist us. I must at this juncture commend our front-line workers who are doing a great job in case identification and management," Ehanire said.