By Kolawole Olayinka, Abeokuta
Pathologists in Nigeria have lamented that they are being sidelined in the fight against the spread of Coronavirus in Nigeria, alleging that “politicians and commercial experts” have hijacked their official duties.
The President of the College of Nigerian Pathologists (CNP), Professor Philip Olatunji made this known on Wednesday while addressing a press conference in Abeokuta.
He accused the Federal and State governments of deliberate neglect of medical practitioners.
The CNP President queried the Federal government’s insistence on bringing the Chinese doctors into the country against an outcry from the public and major stakeholders, like the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA).
Olatunji insisted that there was no need to bring the Chinese doctors to Nigeria, arguing that the number of patients in Nigeria has not expanded the number of available doctors in the country.
He alleged that health workers working in the front line are being exposed to risk without adequate provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
“Sadly, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), the apex body of medical doctors and Medical and Dental Consultants Association, a body of specialist doctors are complaining of being sidelined, while the Pathologists are left out of the laboratories.
“Political and commercial experts are being imported by internal collaborators to take this place of technical and professional experts. What manner of intervention can this be?
“Equally sad is the fact that our policy-makers would appear to be deliberately sidelining our well-trained professionals and experts and making bogus announcements over the television and radio.
“Those of us who they are forced to accommodate are working under harsh conditions, without insurance, in spite of the danger to which they are exposed.
The CNP called on government at all levels to take advantage of the COVID-19 opportunity “to reset our button and prioritise healthcare.
“No country can be truly developed if its healthcare system is underdeveloped. This will not be the last pandemic, another will come.
“We must be prepared, our public health infrastructure, our laboratories and our healthcare workforce must be rebuilt so that the weakest among us as access to good healthcare.”
He also urged the government intensify its efforts at combating the spread of Coronavirus, saying “We must not get complacent. If we are consistent and can avoid a sustained community transmission and ramp up our response now, then we will weather this epidemic with minimal deaths and prepare for the inevitable future epidemic or pandemic.”