Deji Elumoye in Abuja
A member of the National Assembly, Senator Betty Apiafi, has faulted the federal government’s plan to invite Chinese medical personnel as part of the moves to fight the Coronavirus pandemic.
Apiafi, who is the Vice Chairman of the Senate committee on Health, said in a one-page release on Tuesday that she had watched with consternation, the controversy that has arisen following the decision of the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 “to invite Chinese medical personnel, whose qualifications are unknown, into the country to purportedly join the fight against corona virus”.
She explained that going by reactions so far, especially from the Nigerian Medical Association to the government plan, “it is obvious that critical decisions are being taken without consulting or taking into consideration, the views of Nigerian medical experts who have been in the frontlines of the battle to contain this health emergency in the country. Nothing can be more demoralizing”.
The Senator added that “From all indications, our frontline health workers are doing a great job but have consistently requested for adequate provisions of Personal Protective Equipments (PPE) and urgent expansion of testing capabilities.
“Our frontline health workers had received accolades in the past (during the Ebola Crisis) and even in the present pandemic from the World Health Organisation (WHO). We can’t afford to demoralize them now neither can we afford to disregard their immense sacrifices.
Government, she advised, should rather channel its energy and limited resources to the provision of adequate Personal Protective Equipments, “urgently expand our laboratory capability for molecular testing/other forms of testing, fill up vacancies in the health sector, upgrade our health facilities and encourage our health workers through improved welfare and insurance packages.
“Viral Infections have become a recurring decimal in our climes and it is time we progress from adhoc containment measures to the construction and proper equipping of infectious diseases hospitals in every state of the federation with adequate manpower to contain and treat any future epidemic/pandemic”, Senator Apiafi further said.