Thoughts On The Coming Of The 15 Chinese Doctors

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15 Chinese Medical Team arrives Nigeria
15 Chinese Medical Team arrives in Nigeria

When set its foot on Nigeria, many felt it was a leveller – every Nigerian has eventually become equal, many wrongly thought. The fact that the Politicians and other elites ‘eating’ from the National cake would not travel out of the country does not imply that they would not still be favoured. This explains why Abba Kyari was flown to Lagos and not left in Abuja. He is a VVIP and would be treated, unlike many other Nigerians. In terms of being a ‘leveller’, Coronavirus is as Malaria in the country- All could contract it but the manner of treatment differs.

The news of the coming of the Chinese Doctors was expectedly criticised by many Nigerians prominent among which is the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA). NMA’s premises were not based on any conspiracy theory. It was not birthed by the myopic argument that China made the virus and spread it across the globe. They were genuine concerns- whatever medical strategy used by the Chinese Doctors could be thought to their Nigerian counterparts without necessarily coming to the country.

Although, the best way to tackle the pandemic is an international approach and not a too nationalistic one. The Federal Government has however failed to put things in order back home. Nationalism begets Internationalism and the latter only sustains nationalistic efforts. The same applies to the clamour by the NMA. Lots of Health Care Workers in the country have not been engaged in the fight against the pandemic even though many of them are willing.

Chinese Ambassador To Nigeria, Zhou Pingjian, said that he does not understand the rationale behind some Nigerians going against the coming of doctors. In his words: “I am struggling to understand the logic; for us, at the most difficult stage of our fight, we received support from Nigeria, it is time for us to reciprocate the friendship and the kindness”. Mr Zhou is right to say he is struggling to understand the logic. The logic is not about China or it’s Doctors bringing ‘goodwill’, it is the continued mistrust between the Government and the people. Many Nigerians have given up on government officials and believe that whatever step they take is just meant to favour themselves alone.

The invitation of these Chinese Doctors could spur up different ‘unconspiracy’ theories. It could be that some ‘big’ men need their services. Since travelling out of Nigeria is quite impossible for these persons, they’d rather bring in Chinese doctors to treat them. Such step typifies the maxim: If Mohammed cannot go to the mountain; the mountain would go to Mohammed- If Nigerian elites can’t go abroad(China) for treatment; Abroad (China) would come to it. The mistrust in the government actions is so huge that this line of thought is valid among many Nigerians.

Another justification that could be given to ‘the coming of these Chinese Doctors’ is that the federal government simply has no trust in the country’s health care practitioners. The Medical Association echoed this sentiment. Many young and vibrant doctors are yet to be called upon to assist in the fight against the pandemic, the experienced ones have not been fully utilised and the retirees are being recalled. However, the federal government being aware of how it has ‘ravished’ the health care system in the country, does not have an iota of trust in the capability of Nigerian doctors to salvage the situation.

There is an incessant doomsday prediction about the outbreak in Africa. Some of these doomsday illusionists can’t wait to make New York out of Africa. They have continuously predicted a massive outbreak in the country. Although this could make African leaders proactive in its fight against the virus, it has as well made some of these leaders blind to any positive from their countries. In Nigeria’s case, the leaders are so used to travelling abroad that they are outright sure the medical practitioners are not good enough in containing the virus. Certainly, the country is short of health care workers in relation to its population, the current state does not, however, warrant some huge influx of doctors.

If the cases in Nigeria does not increase as many predicted, the Chinese authorities might not be ‘too happy’. They are here to solve a problem which would earn them eventually if there are no problems, then there are no praises for them. It wouldn’t be out of place to suggest that they could create the problem. Not all apparent goodwill brings good results. Let’s hope -as we always do- that this would not be the case. If it is, the government- as they always do- has failed again.

Adelowo Adegboyega
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