Press Statement by NARD president Sokomba Aliyu
THE NIGERIAN ASSOCIATION OF RESIDENT DOCTORS (NARD) CONDEMNS THE PLANNED IMPORTATION OF CHINESE DOCTORS INTO NIGERIA BY THE FMoH to Fight COVID-19.
Doctors under the aegis of Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) wish to holistically cross-examine the intent and purpose of the importation of 18-man Chinese team of medical experts including doctors, nurses and those with sundry expertise to assist Nigeria in the fight against COVID-19.
The Association is in indeed puzzled that the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Health would be contemplating such an adventure without firstly discussing it with the key and relevant stakeholders like the Nigerian Medical Association; our parent body; and all her relevant affiliates that parade some of the world’s best hands in all fields of endeavor. We find it rather curious that our Government would contemplate to throw open her international borders to Chinese nationals having watched how similar action in Italy proved socio-economically suicidal.
The Federal Government cannot be championing illegality. All doctors coming into Nigeria are supposed to be licensed by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria. Am sure these ones are not.
Nigeria is about one fifth of the population of the African continent and currently the world has watched with awe, the very slow rate of case fatality arising from COVID 19 in Africa and is yet to understand, explain, covet or undermine that possible genetic advantage.
The crafty Chinese scientists should the last group of friends to trust at this time given how unreliably and covertly they have managed the information around the pandemic beginning from the data around its origin, characteristics, and other virulence features to help the nations yet to experience the surge to be better prepared. We should not lose sight of the fact that conspiracy theories have it that COVID 19 is a possible tool for both sociopolitical and economic manipulation and domination. Nigeria is too important in the African continent to act any carelessly in the face of this emerging but portent threat to human existence.
The attempt to import Human resources for Health from China into Nigeria where many qualified medical doctors and other cadres of health workers are yet to be gainfully employed is the height of insensitivity and disservice on the part of the Federal Government and their advisers. The challenge at hand would have been sufficient marker to agitate the FG to the direction and timing for massive employment of medical and other health care workers to provide enough hands in the industry to battle the COVID 19 as other nations are doing. Some countries even went ahead to accelerate the graduation of their final year medical students.
They did not turn to China. If the FG had completely employed the available qualified doctors and other healthcare workers before turning to China for medical manpower to fill any persisting gap; it would have being less suspicious. The Nigerian medical experts are currently winning the COVID 19 battle and should be encouraged and motivated and supported to win the war instead of distracting them with this unfortunate plan.
The news making rounds in some quarters have it that the Chinese experts are only coming to Nigeria to play only some advisory roles and not to directly intervene in the day to day handling of Nigerian patients do not appear believable because telemedicine should have been more cost-effective, faster and easier to harness over a large number of uses that to fly them into Nigeria and move them from place to place at a huge cost to our national budget.
As a way forward, the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors hereby wishes to present her position concerning the plan by the FG to import Chinese medical experts as alternative to other more impactful interventions to combat the evolving COVID 19 as follows:
- NARD hereby advises the FG to stop the implementation of the Plan and rather, immediately engage all key relevant Nigerian medical experts including NARD and present the full intents and purpose of the planned importation of Chinese experts for full evaluation, cost-benefit analysis and consensus on the best option
- In the interim and pending when item one above is fully done, NARD wishes to distant herself from the planned importation of Chinese medical experts to Nigeria in whatever guise or hood for the reasons presented in this write-up and many more.
- NARD shall not contemplate further warning to distance herself from the Chinese adventure by way of withdrawing all her members from every public health facility in Nigeria so that the anticipated downturn in the output of Nigeria’s healthcare service delivery can be properly situated and traceable to the Chinese as is the case today in Italy.
- NARD hereby reiterates her position which was canvased earlier in the week for the FG to immediately and massively employ all qualified but unemployed doctors and other healthcare workers. Get them trained, insured, motivated and deployed nationwide.
- NARD wonders if the Chinese medical experts would accept FIVE THOUSAND NAIRA monthly hazard allowance if they were to be engaged on such terms. Nigerian doctors and other healthcare workers have been on such depressing and unpatriotic hazard allowance and yet saving millions of Nigerians for years. Why did the FG not bring Chinese experts on same conditions of service. FG needs to immediately review the hazard allowance and make it a percentage of the basic salary of all healthcare workers as many nations are steadily incentivizing the pay for their health workers.
- Finally, NARD is of the view that all our hospitals should be properly equipped with state of the art equipment and devices and all necessary personal protective equipment made available to all healthcare workers instead of demoralizing them with the news of plans to import Chinese experts.