COVID-19: NMA not with us in the fight, says health minister

Minister of Health Dr Osagie Ehanire has accused the umbrella body of medical doctors in Nigeria, the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), of not showing interest or supporting the government in the fight to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus in the country.

The minister was disappointed that rather than offering support to government to contain the spread of COVID-19 in Nigeria, some members of the body have commenced a strike action. Ehanire, speaking at a press conference in Abuja, was unhappy that since the outbreak of the coronavirus in Nigeria, the NMA has neither visited nor “asked us what they could do to help.” The Minister said: “I have not seen what the NMA has done in this regard and they have not spoken to me since the whole activity broke out. They have not asked us what they could do to help. We will like them to do that and find out how far we are going. I am a member of the NMA, but they have not called to say ‘Well done;’ or ‘How can we help you?. Other countries and agencies have asked us. In fact, the United Nations invited us to find out what they can do. This comes after the NMA President, Dr Francis Faduyile, who appeared on the Channels Television morning programme Sunrise Daily last Thursday, had spoken about the non-involvement of the NMA in the Federal Government’s response to the rising incidences of the novel coronavirus in Nigeria. It will be unwise and suicidal for a medical doctor or any other health worker to attend to a suspected case of coronavirus when he or she has no adequate kits nor adequately trained to respond to that. You have to be alive to save another,” Faduyile had said. However, our members would continue to do their best within the available resources and equipment to offer quality medical services to Nigerians irrespective of the situation. He had also complained about the sanitary environment in public hospitals in Nigeria, which, according to him, could be counterproductive to the efforts of the Federal Government to contain the spread of the coronavirus in Nigeria. 70 per cent of Nigerian hospitals have no running water which is critical in the containment of COVID-19 and other epidemics. Aside that, our members and some other health workers are obviously not motivated financially and otherwise, and also not adequately prepared and provided with the necessary equipment or kits to respond to the outbreak of epidemics,” he noted.

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