By John Okeke
In its effort to tackle the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus in the country, the Government of the People’s Republic of China has donated infection prevention and control materials and information communication technology (ICT) equipment to the Federal Government.
The Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr Zhou Pingjian, made the presentation to the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire in Abuja on behalf of the Government of the People’s Republic of China.
The Chinese envoy said China firmly supports Nigeria’s fight against the virus and stands ready to assist, if needed, to the best of its capacity.
Zhou added that despite the daunting task of epidemic control at home, China will try its best to provide medical supplies to Nigeria and do whatever it could do to support Nigeria.
He added that China will continue to share information and experience with Nigeria and strengthen cooperation on containment, treatment and vaccines in response to the challenge of the virus, with a view to building together, a community of shared health for mankind.
Zhou stated that since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, the government and good people of Nigeria have been standing by China during the trying time.
The envoy added that the solidarity message from President Muhammadu Buhari spoke volumes when he said: “China’s efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus have been exemplary, as well as the country’s collaboration with international agencies and other countries on the matter.”
Zhou further said China was deeply touched by the compassion shown to its people from Nigeria and the international community at large.
“We will never forget the sympathy and support extended by Nigeria when the Chinese people were in the most challenging stage of battling the epidemic,” Zhou said.
Zhou further commended the Nigerian Government for working assiduously on the epidemic response in a science-based, rational and professional way from day one.
“On behalf of the Embassy and the Chinese community, I wish to express our sincere appreciation and gratitude for all your commendable work,” Zhou also said.
In his remarks, Ehanire called for the assistance of the People’s Republic of China in the area of public health experts.
Ehanire congratulated China for coming out of the coronavirus threat and its recovery process both economically and in health.
“On behalf of the Government and people of Nigeria, we heartily accept these gifts which you have brought to us in our struggle as we are facing the threat of coronavirus invasion. It is like an invasion and like we are fighting a war like you did.
“So, with the benefit of your experience, we also want to know how you got up over this challenge. If you have some public health experts, who can visit us to help us with our strategy; the journey to fight corona is not a journey that many people know and if there are people who have understood how this war has gone, it will be the people of China who have experienced it firsthand and experience it very seriously.
“So, if we can have some public health experts who will come and help us to review our strategy and give us assistance, we shall appreciate it,” Ehanire said.
Noting that the Nigerian health system may not be as strong as that of China, the minister added that the government was doing everything possible to strengthen it so that the public health part of it which the government really want to face will reduce the incidence or the number of those who have to require very serious treatment.
Ehanire also urged China to assist Nigeria with technical support in order to prepare for worst-case scenario and ventilators which are respirators, general medical protective equipment, hand diagnostic reagents for laboratory, including logistics.