COVID-19: Fresh crisis brews as PDP lawmakers kick against Chinese doctors arrival in Nigeria
• Says Chinese presence may worsen spread of coronavirus pandemic
The minority caucus of the House of Representatives has rejected the decision of the Federal Government to import Chinese doctors into the country over the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.
The minority Caucus, in a statement issued by its Leader, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu, on Tuesday, warned that bringing in medical personnel from the epicentre of the dreaded disease will expose the nation to further danger.
The PDP lawmakers position came barely 24 hours after the Speaker and some principal officers of the All Progressives Congress (APC) met with the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire and his counterpart, Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora who explained that Nigeria did not officially invite the Chinese team, but that it was an offer arranged by a group of Chinese companies based in Nigeria as part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) to Nigeria.
The Ministers who argued that Nigeria stands to benefit more from the gesture because the existing health facilities and personnel in Nigeria to tackle the disease are inadequate, adding that the Chinese delegation are mainly experts in molecular laboratory testing, where we have only two indigenous experts currently serving seven laboratory centres.
According to them, the Chinese doctors are expected to help in setting up molecular laboratories around the country as well as upgrade and reconfigure existing ones in the country.
While reacting to various positions, the leadership of the Caucus specifically tasked the Federal Government to immediately rescind its decision and jettison all plans to import doctors from the hotbed of the plague into our country at this critical time.
The lawmakers noted that Nigerian Doctors and Nurses are doing well so far in managing the scourge, and expressed fears that “bringing in Chinese medical personnel, whose status, intentions and scope cannot be easily ascertained and controlled is totally against our national interest.”
According to Hon. Elumelu, the Federal Government should note the apprehensions of Nigerians and professional bodies including the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) over the decision.
The caucus noted that this is particularly after alleged escalated of the pandemic in certain countries after Chinese doctors were reportedly involved, in addition to widespread trepidations over the safety of medical equipment and kits from China at this point in time.
The Minority leader stressed that at such critical time, the safety and wellbeing of our citizens must be paramount and anything that is capable of further jeopardizing their lives must be avoided.
Hon. Elumelu, however, commended Nigerians for their resilience and collaborative effort in fighting the spread of the pandemic in the country.
He urged them to continue to adhere to health safety procedures of personal hygiene and social distancing as well as being their brother’s keepers at this time while expressing confidence that with the combined effort of all, the nation will defeat the pandemic.