The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has rejected the decision of the federal government to invite doctors from China to assist in the fight against COVID-19 in the country.
The association conveyed its opposition to the bid in a press statement issued on Sunday and signed by Francis Faduyile, its president.
Osagie Ehanire, minister of health, had announced the plan by the government to invite Chinese doctors into the country to assist in fighting the spread of the disease.
But the NMA kicked against the idea, saying it received the news with “great dismay and utter disappointment”.
“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,” it said.
“The lack of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), grossly inadequate test kits, and test centres across the country , and the absolute lack of any form of insurance for the workforce are primordial issues begging for attention at this time.
“We are therefore profoundly dismayed to learn that the Federal Government is instead inviting the Chinese who from available accounts are not out of the woods themselves. The spike in cases and the death toll from COVID-19 in Italy coincided with the arrival of the Chinese in the guise of offering assistance. Even the United Nations has only just recently commended the efforts of Nigeria so far.”
The association said the government did not consider the extant laws regulating the practice of medicine in Nigeria in line with the requirements of the Medical and Dental Council Act, which states that the council “should be consulted to grant necessary approvals to foreigners to interact with Nigerian patients”.
NMA appreciated the work of health workers combating COVID-19, and said it “expects the Government to show appreciation by channelling the available resources and donations to improving testing facilities to detect more cases and ramp up capacity to train more workers”.