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Vanguard: Opposition of Health Ministry, NMA on Chinese Experts not in Nigeria's Interest

Published on 11 April, 2020, in VANGUARD Newspaper



The Anap Foundation COVID-19 Think Tank has stated that the back and forth stand of the Ministry of Health and Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) on the intervention of Chinese experts is not in the interest of Nigeria.

While commending the efforts of NMA in opposing relaxation of guidelines on mass gatherings by state governors, Anap Foundation lamented Nigeria’s adverse doctor population ration which is pegged at 4:10,000 compared to South Africa which stood at 9:10,000. Recall that the health body had expressed their rejection of the decision to fly Chinese health workers in Nigeria to assist in the fight against COVID-19.

In a statement signed by its Chairman, Atedo Peterside and Vice-Chairman Abubakar Mohammed, Anap Foundation said: “Nigeria is now faced with a pandemic of unprecedented proportions that has devastated people and economies across the globe. It is for these reasons and more, that the April 5 and April 9, 2020 statements from the NMA are worrying.

“The Anap COVID-19 Team concludes that the opposing positions of the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) and the NMA on the involvement of foreign physicians and healthcare workers (whatever may be the pros and cons of the current Chinese intervention) to combat COVID-19 are not in the interest of the Nigerian public. “We expect close monitoring of all foreign personnel while in the country for the safety of the foreign team and above all, Nigeria’s own sovereignty.”

The letter made available to Vanguard also explained that “The Anap COVID-19 Team calls on the Federal Government and the FMOH to engage with the NMA immediately on the serious concerns and recommendations made by the NMA in its statements. We urge the NMA to review its positions and remain open and strategic about managing all offers to support Nigeria’s medical capacity to beat the deadly COVID-19.

“The Anap COVID-19 Team, which has issued a 7-page Call to Action in English, Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba, urges the FMOH to be more collaborative and communicative with the NMA as it executes its strategies to contain the spread of the virus. Nigeria’s success is dependent on the engagement and alignment of all relevant healthcare industry stakeholders on the urgency at hand.

“The FMOH and the NMA are indispensable to driving and executing healthcare strategy in Nigeria. Strategic alignment of purpose, transparent communication, close collaboration and collective accountability are essential to the successful delivery in times of stability, and even more so in times of crisis such as now. We need the FMOH and the NMA to collaborate at this critical time otherwise the Nigerian people will be victims of this failure of leadership within the healthcare sector.