CHINA’S 18-man team of medical experts whose impending arrival in Nigeria has split public opinion are due to arrive in Abuja today with a raft of medical equipment designed to assist local health authorities.
Earlier this week, China announced that it is sending a team of medical experts to Nigeria over the next few days to assist the health authorities with their fight against the coronavirus pandemic as fears grow that the virus may spread further over the coming weeks. However, the move has been opposed by the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) and the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), who said they were not consulted about the development.
Several public commentators have also expressed reservations about the development saying, these arrivals from China could make the situation worse. However, the Nigeria government is proceeding with the action with the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), the main contractor handling Nigeria’s rail modernisation programme, facilitating the project.
According to the CCECC, among the materials which will be arriving aboard a chartered Air Peace flight include 16-tonnes of test kits, ventilators, disinfection machines, disposable medical masks, N95 masks, medicines, rubber gloves, protective gowns, goggles, face shields, infra-red thermometers and other critical care items. CCECC explained that it sponsored the venture with the backing of the Nigerian government its home government and its mother company the China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC).
CCECC said that considering its large number of employees in Nigeria, is had to act to prevent the further spread of Covid-19. CCECC added that at its own cost, it will dispatch a 15-member working team from CRCC, 12 of whom are experienced medical professionals with expertise in infectious disease, respiratory illness, intensive care, cardiology, neurology, general surgery and anesthesiology.
Members of the team also have relevant experience in the prevention and diagnosis of the COVID-19. To allay the fears of Nigerians, all members of the Chinese team have tested negative to Covid-19 and shall commence their stay in Nigeria by undertaking a 14 day quarantine.
Their chartered flight is due to arrive at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport today and its primary purpose of will be to provide CCECC employees with critical and necessary healthcare assistance. Under the directive of Chinese embassy, the team will also share with Nigerian medical teams effective methods on how to contain Covid-19 and provide advice on the use of relevant medical equipment.
In keeping with its slogan Stride with Nigeria CCECC is participating in the construction of two Covid-19 response facilities in the Federal Capital Territory for free as part of its corporate social responsibilities. These include a 196-bed dome treatment centre, in collaboration with Sahara Team and Arise News and the 150-bed Idu Depot Treatment Centre.