The Nigerian opposition coalition, CUPP, after reviewing the plan to import Chinese doctors by the President Muhammadu Buhari led government for no defined reasons and after consultation with the Nigeria Medical Association and reviewing their experts views is of the informed opinion that the move is unnecessary, in bad faith and a direct expression of loss of confidence on Nigerian doctors and other frontline medical health workers who have risked their lives daily despite the huge constraints and inadequacies they face to do a marvellous job of treating patients of the deadly virus with a very good success rate.
Rather than import Chinese doctors into the country, the government could have shown support to the Nigerian doctors by providing adequate and sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE) for them to ensure they are safe while doing their job. There are reports of Doctors and other health workers in the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, University of Ibadan Teaching Hospital, Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital and the Obafemi Awoloowo University Teaching Hospital to mention but a few already dangerously exposed to patients who have tested positive for the COVID-19.
We ask the Presidency, why did the government not work with our Nigeria Medical and Dental Council in line with the provisions of the law before coming to the ill-timed decision to import Chinese doctors?
The Nigeria Dental and Medical Council Act provides that the council must be made aware and grant approvals before such steps are taken by government to bring in foreign medical doctors into the country to see Nigerian patients. We stand with the Nigerian Medical Association that has rejected this move and indeed all Nigerians should reject the move NOW.
The arrival of Chinese doctors in Italy unfortunately coincided with the spike in the contracting and death rate in that country which made it to soon be the country with the most deaths. It could be a mere coincidence, but since the spike, what have these Chinese doctors done to improve situations in Italy with the thousands of deaths that have occurred since then.
Are the Chinese doctors going to come to help us ramp up our recovery rate which is very high at the moment or are they coming to know why we are not dying like chickens like it is happening in the United States, Spain, Italy, France etc? What will be their true mission? Who has run real background checks on these doctors to ascertain their latent intention? The pandemic is still killing people in China. They are still grappling with it. Where were these Chinese doctors when thousands of their citizens died from the virus? Are the agents of the communist party on a mission different from what they present? Must the Federal Government continue with actions that daily mortgages our country the more?
Is the timing of this coming of the Chinese doctors at this point in time not very suspicious? Will these doctors not infiltrate our system and conduct unknown clinical trials on patients? The unanswered questions are legion.
Everything about this importation or invitation of Chinese doctors by the Presidency is totally rejected as it is very dangerous, in violation of the laws, a distraction form the good work being done so far and a misplacement of priority capable of turning the table against Nigeria. Government must not at such a time express loss of confidence on its medical workers who are without relevant protection and are grossly underpaid yet doing marvellously well in a situation which has received international acclaim.
The Nigeria Medical Association did not ask for the help neither are we aware that the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control made a request for the Chinese Doctors. The Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control did not also claim that he did not get adequate experience from his recent visit to China.
If the President had shut our air and land border on time, the Italian and other index cases would not have landed. Or if the President enforced mandatory 14 days quarantine for all passengers from high risk countries, the cases of community transmission being currently witnessed now would not be the case. The self-isolation policy employed by government was weak, unserious and lack of concern for the health of Nigerians. The President has since run under his bed for fear of contracting the disease. The President loves power and not the responsibility that comes with holding power.
Please keep the Chinese doctors away from us and support our health workers with equipment, test kit, contact tracing logistics and sustainable hunger fighting palliative and not the share-to-a-few joke called social intervention palliative by the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs Disaster Management and Social Development. Let the world hear us clearly, Nigerians do not need the Chinese doctors' physical presence. There are technological means like tele-conferencing, skype and all other types of video calls in use in the medical field where doctors thousands of kilometres away are consulted to review and give expert advice on patients' cases. Nigeria must leverage on such technology at this time.
Nigerians will have no options but to hold the President personally responsible if he forces these Chinese doctors on citizens and the situation gets worse or there are messy reports about unapproved action by the doctors. The President is the only head of State in the whole world who has holed up and hidden inside Presidential Villa since the virus outbreak. He is the only President who is not constantly selling hope and reassurance to citizens and he is the only President in the world who is not recognizing the near suicidal efforts of their country's health workers to contain this pandemic.
What incentives has the President provided for our health workers? Has he even said the words “Thank You” to these life savers? Has the President called on citizens to appreciate them? Rather he passes a vote of no confidence on them with an ill-timed, thoughtless and morale dampening move to bring in Chinese doctors. If he wants the Chinese doctors for himself and his family in the Villa like he has always sought foreign medical treatment, that is his problem but for Nigerians, we are comfortable with the work of Nigerian doctors like we have always been and we will resist anyone who wants to ridicule their good works.
But the Presidency must ensure that when their doctors come for them, they must be compulsorily isolated for the mandatory 14 days to be sure they will not carry a different strain of the disease into the country.
Mr President, every good thing you touch goes bad. Please leave Nigerian doctors alone to continue their good work.