By Lesley Muosowo Otu
A group, Health Rights Advocacy, has condemned the Federal government’s plan to bring in some Chinese doctors to assist in the fight against the coronavirus, COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria.
It’s President, Prof. Uwakwe Abugu, in a statement said it joined other bodies like the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) and the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) to oppose the Greek offer from China.
“As an advocacy championing for policy reforms and extracting professional accountability and best practice from medical and healthcare personnel, we vehemently opposed to this idea for legal and strategic reasons.
“Evidently the Law on the registration of foreigners for the purpose of practising medicine in Nigeria as set out in the Medical and Dental Practitioners Act, Cap. M8, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 is clear and unambiguous.
“A foreigner who obtained a medical qualification from any institution outside Nigeria and who wishes to practice medicine in Nigeria must first satisfy the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria that his qualification was obtained from an institution approved by the Council.
“Upon the satisfaction of this condition precedent, he must proceed to submit himself to a test, screening and other due diligence to satisfy the Council that his training, skill, competence and character are such as would not jeopardize the life and health of Nigerian patients”, the statement reads.
“More worrisome is the fact that the records of COVID-19 infection, recoveries of patients and death so far in Nigeria do not suggest that there is such emergency as to sidetrack the due process of the law for the protection of the same patients for whom these doctors are being brought in the first place”, it reads
“It is abundantly clear that we lack enough Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for our medical personnel for the war against COVID-19, and other infectious diseases. One is persuaded to ask, what efforts are the government making in ensuring that there are enough quality equipment for our frontline caregivers, or are they relying on the used and disused ones from China?
“We at Lifeline Centre believe that government should not sacrifice its own due process of law on the altar of unverified or unverifiable Chinese magic wand”, it reads.