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Coronavirus: Repatriate Chinese doctors in 72 hours, NANS tells FG

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The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), an umbrella body of Nigerian students worldwide, in a press briefing at the weekend, handed the Nigerian Federal Government a 72-hour ultimatum, to repatriate the Chinese doctors back to their country.

This was, even as the body also tasked the President, Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, to commence a probe into the mysterious inferno that gutted the Accountant General of the Federation’s office (Treasury House), within 72 hours.

Some 15 Chinese doctors had arrived the country on the 8th April 2020, to assist the Nigerian government in the fight against the spread of Coronavirus.

But their arrival has received more criticisms than commendations, with the leadership of National Assembly, Nigerian Medical Association, Nigeria Union of Journalists and other bodies, tackling the Federal Government for taking such inimical decision.

Comrade Danielson Akpan, President of the Nigerian students, at a press briefing in Abuja, said the issue of invitation and subsequent airlifting of Chinese medical personnel was an “affront on the hardworking, efficient and reliable Nigerian doctors who gave their best, patriotically since the outbreak of COVID-19”.

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He said,

“NANS aligns with the Nigeria Medical Association and condemns the invitation of Chinese nationals into the country; demands information about their whereabouts and seeks their immediate repatriation.

“Curiously, upon their unwelcome arrival, Nigeria recorded the highest number of COVID-19 cases, is there any nexus?

“We appreciate their humanitarian support, but we don’t need their personnel because our medical practitioners are capable to manage the situation.”

Akpan said, the Federal Government should rather concern itself with airlifting Nigerian students who are stuck in China and are about being used for medical experiment in testing and treating COVID-19, even when they are not carrying the Virus.

On the burnt Treasury House, the NANS President said, the fire outbreak at a time of national lockdown was condemnable and demanded urgent investigation.

“We hereby issue a 72-hour ultimatum to the authorities concerned to conduct investigation into what led to the fire incident.

“The Minister of Finance and indeed the gutted Accountant General’s Office told Nigerians and the world that all beneficiaries of the Covid-19 palliative policy are safely captured in a data upon the query by the National Assembly on the accountability and reach of the management of Covid-19 finances; unfortunately, less than 24 hours after, a strange fire engulfed the Accountant General’s Office. This is not acceptable to Nigerians, and we state categorically that, that building is a national asset which no person or group of persons have the right to destroy for cover up or connivance,” Akpan added.

The students’ leader also called on the Federal Government to be transparent in the distribution of palliatives, saying Nigerians demand to know how the donations so far made have been distributed.

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His words,

We condemn in totality the pattern of disbursement so far as claimed by the PTF and FMHSD. The process is not transparent and does not get to the vulnerable people as claimed, while no one knows where those mentioned billions have been spent since the palliative measures began.

“Information at our disposal revealed that, while government earmarked N20,000 for the vulnerable Nigerians, a paltry N10,000 was disbursed in carefully selected remote rural areas. Information reaching us further revealed that they are trying to conjure fake data to cover up to show that they have given to large numbers of people. All concerned must be ready to render account of their stewardship in this trying moment of our national life”.

Akpan commended the pattern used by the GMD of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mele Kyari and others by donating materials directly to the people and hospitals, instead of giving cash donations to the task force that cannot be accounted for.

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He faulted the composition of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, demanding that, NANS and other youth bodies should be included in the PTF, “and health-related students be mobilized to serve as ad hoc staff or supportive staff”.

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Bayelsa Gov. canvasses more support for primary healthcare

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Gov. Douye Diri of Bayelsa has stressed the need to pay more attention to the primary healthcare system towards ensuring effective and efficient management of disease control and public health.

This was contained in a statement issued on Sunday in Yenagoa by Mr. Doubara Atasi, the Senior Special Assistant to the Deputy Governor on Media, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo.

The statement quoted Gov. Douye Diri as making stating this while receiving a report from the ad-hoc committee on funding challenges and other related issues of the state Primary Healthcare Development Board.

The governor, who was represented by his deputy, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, described primary healthcare as the gateway to a vibrant healthcare system.

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While decrying the long neglect of the primary healthcare system in the country, he noted that the COVID-19 challenge would not have become so alarming if the government had paid adequate attention to the health sector.

Diri commended members of the ad-hoc committee for the report, expressing optimism that the implementation of the report would, in no small measure, help in addressing some of the major challenges facing the health sector in the state.

”The basic truth is that more than 80 percent of all the health challenges that we have in this world are adjustable with primary healthcare.

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“So if we have an effective primary healthcare system, then we will also have an effective disease control and management system.

“The primary healthcare is the gateway to the entire health system.

“If we had deployed primary healthcare effectively in this country and even across the world, we wouldn’t have gotten to this stage of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is, therefore, failure or lack of emphasis on primary healthcare that has taken us to where we are now,” he said.

Diri also stressed the need to provide health workers with personal protective equipment at the community level to enable them to provide immunization and other services in the midst of the COVID-19 infection.

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Presenting the report, Chairman of the ad-hoc committee, Mr. Gowon Toruyouyei, said the 17-member committee made some findings, with some short and long term recommendations towards moving the sector forward.

Toruyouyei also noted that the committee, among other recommendations, urged the state government to amend the Primary Healthcare Development Board Law, 2018, with inputs from critical stakeholders to address the ambiguity in the funding structure.

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Global coronavirus cases increase by over 230,000 – WHO

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The World Health Organization (WHO) reported a record increase in global coronavirus cases on Sunday, with the total rising by 230,370 in 24 hours.

The biggest increases were from the U.S., Brazil, India, and South Africa, according to a daily report.

The previous WHO record for new cases was 228,102 on July 10. Deaths remained steady at about 5,000 a day.

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Global coronavirus cases were approaching 13 million on Sunday, according to a Reuters tally, marking another milestone in the spread of the disease that has killed more than 565,000 people in seven months.

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Lagos doctors begin three days warning strike Monday

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Doctors under the aegis of the Medical Guild in Lagos State are set to begin three days warning strike from Monday, over issues that affect their safety and welfare.

reports that Medical Guild is the Association of Medical Doctors under the employment of the Lagos State Government.

Dr. Oluwajimi Sodipo, Chairman of the Guild, made this known to newsmen at a press briefing on Sunday in Lagos.

Sodipo said that the strike, which would run from Monday, July 13 to 16, would exempt members working in the state’s COVID-19 isolation centers.

He said that Congress of the Guild had on June 27 extended the two weeks ultimatum to the state government, after the expiration of its initial 21 days ultimatum to resolve the issues.

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The guild leader noted that the grace period was given to the government to meet 70 percent of the doctors’ demands in order to avert the strike.

He, however, said that the Council, after its meeting on July 11, observed that some of the demands were unresolved by the government.

According to him, wage disparity between the Federal and Lagos State doctors is not being given necessary attention by the state government.

“The issue of COVID-19 hazard allowances and inducement allowances Memorandum of Understanding approved by the Federal Government to the doctors has not been approved by the Lagos Government to her doctors.

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“Doctors working in COVID-19 isolation centres are still being owed two months’ salaries which has remained unpaid at the moment.

“They are also being unceremoniously disengaged without recourse to their welfares,” he said.

The chairman stressed that the issues of doctors getting infected and re-infected on a daily basis were not getting the required attention from the government.

“Our members are putting themselves on the line daily to provide care, and we need to do everything to protect our colleagues,” Sodipo said.

He maintained that adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), prompt testing of health workers, and insurance should be provided.

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Sodipo added that issues of shortage of doctors in health facilities have yet to be resolved with no visible substantive action taken by the government to resolve it.

“The congress will reconvene after the three days warning strike to review the progress made and plan for further actions.

“We call on the Lagos State Government to do all within its power to resolve the impasse,” he said.

Also, Dr. Babajide Saheed, former Chairman of the Guild, said that the government could still avert the strike within 24 hours if the needful was done

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