A 15-MAN medical team from China arrived in Nigeria on Wednesday aboard an Air Peace chartered flight earlier designated for that purpose by the Federal Government.
The team that came with medical supplies was received by the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, to complement the efforts of the government to contain the coronavirus in Nigeria.
In a reaction to the coming of the Chinese medical experts, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) charged Nigerians to hold President Muhammadu Buhari responsible should there be any upsurge in the rate of COVID-19 infection and death in the country following the importation of doctors from China, the epicenter of the scourge, by the Federal Government.
The PDP said it was alarmed that President Buhari ignored the protests by Nigerians and professional bodies including the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) and allowed the importation of the Chinese doctors despite warnings that bringing in doctors from the hotbed of the plague would expose citizens to further risks.
The party, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, Wednesday evening, noted that the Federal Government was importing the Chinese doctors “even as Nigerians across the board have continued to question the status, identity and interest of the Chinese doctors as well as the safety of kits and equipment from China, particularly following scary reports of escalation of the scourge in certain countries reportedly after the arrival of Chinese medical personnel in those countries.”
“Moreover, our doctors and nurses have been on top of the situation with records of recoveries and fewer casualties, thus raising questions about the real intentions of bringing in doctors from China,” The PDP said.
The opposition party said that “the situation is even more distressing as the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 had been making frantic effort to exonerate itself from the decision to bring in the Chinese doctors into our country.”
The United Labour Congress (ULC) urged those behind the move to avoid scuttling the nation’s overall COVID-19 national response strategy.
They argued that the coming of the Chinese might be a Greek gift to the country and as such Nigerians must be more careful. ULC expressed worry that there is a growing penchant for the nation’s leadership to pander to the whims and caprices of persons in white skin against hard-nosed advice and suggestions from Nigerians.
The union countered the reaction of the Secretary to the General to the Federation, Boss Mustapha, on the complaints and concerns raised by many Nigerians on the attempt to bring in the Chinese without proper consultation.
President of ULC, Joe Ajaero, who said that allowing the Chinese to distract us at this time was counter-productive, said the government should reconsider its stance, for now, pending when it had fully consulted all the relevant stakeholders in the battle against the disease.
According to him, “Anything Chinese, as far as the pandemic is concerned, raises some hairs among Nigerians and that is understandable given a lot of stories and fears out there. It is better, therefore, to take another look at this offer for assistance to assuage these feelings.
“We are also worried that a company which has had a pervasive influence on the government of this nation is in charge of various critical infrastructural projects in this country is the one making this offer at this time.
“Could it be that this may be our government’s way of granting favour to the company to take charge of their Chinese personnel during this pandemic? Was there a quid pro quo that may compromise our nation’s ethos, interests and medical processes?” Ajaero queried.
Meanwhile, the government has warned that unauthorized management of the coronavirus disease and compromise of medical ethics could aggravate the public health emergency at the community level and place national security in jeopardy.
The government also urged health facilities, both public and private, not to reject patients suspected of coronavirus without giving them advisory on what to do. Such patients should follow the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) guidelines and refer suspect cases to COVID-19 test sites.
Minister of State for Health, Dr. Olorunmibe Mamora, who handed down the warning yesterday at a press conference by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 reminded all health facilities that coronavirus is an extremely dangerous pathogen which spreads very easily. He said it was not advisable to accept persons suspected of such infection for treatment if the facility is not so accredited but to offer them a referral to test centers or accredited treatment centers.
According to Mamora, health workers and other patients and visitors will otherwise be put at great risk if unaccredited health facilities start handling Covid-19 patients.