By Hassan Zaggi
Lifeline Centre for Medical and Health Rights Advocacy (Lifeline Centre) has advised the Federal Government to empower local manufacturers so that they can produce ventilators in the country.
The Non Governmental Organisation (NGO), gave the advice in a statement signed by a member of its Board of Trustees, Prof. Uwakwe Abugu, in Abuja.
Lifeline Centre is an NGO with the mandate of pursuing, promoting and enforcing the medical and health rights of Nigerians.
It also champions advocacy for policy reforms and extracting professional accountability and best practice from medical and healthcare personnel.
The NGO however, vehemently opposed, based on what it described as ‘legal and strategic reasons’, the plan by the federal government to bring in Chinese medical experts to assist in the fight against Covid-19.
Prof. Abugu disclosed that Nigerian hospitals are estimated to require over 5 million ventilators to adequately serve patients in the country, insisting that ventilators are very critical in the treatment and recovery of all Covid-19 patients.
“With the prevailing scarcity of ventilators worldwide, it would have been thought that the government would be creative enough to discuss with and empower willing local manufacturers such as Innoson Motors Ltd and others to venture into manufacturing ventilators for local use.
“Again, it is heart-rending that in Nigeria today there is no system of compulsory medical liability insurance and life insurance policies for all levels and classes of medical and healthcare personnel.
“Common sense would suggest that deploying energy and resources into these areas should appear to be more critical and same would serve as a morale booster for frontline caregivers who are daily risking their lives for the rest of us.
“One is persuaded to ask, what efforts are the governments making in ensuring that there are enough quality equipment for our frontline caregivers, or are they relying on the used and disused ones from China?”
Lifeline Centre further urged the government to face and resolve critical challenges confronting the health sector rather than planning how to import medical experts from China.
“We at Lifeline Centre believe that government should NOT sacrifice its own due process of the law on the altar of unverified or unverifiable Chinese magic wand.
“Again, government should be more creative in tackling the more pressing issues of welfare of the frontline caregivers and the citizenry than insisting, against all well-meaning objections to bring in Chinese doctors whose training, competence, character and good faith cannot be readily taken to the bank.”