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APBN commends Nigerian health professionals in fight against COVID-19

The Association of Professional Bodies in Nigeria (APBN) has commended its members in the health sector in combating the COVID-19 pandemic.

The body said since the arrival of the index case in Lagos Nigeria, medical and Health Professionals in the country have demonstrated high level of competence in tackling the pandemic.

President of the Association, Engineer Olumuyiwa Alade Ajibola in a statement said the APBN notes with appreciation, the effectiveness of the in-country efforts that has been mobilized so far by President Muhammadu Buhari and the frontline states, mainly through bodies of technocrats, already constituted into the various Task Forces.

He expressed appreciation to the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, the Nigerian Center for Disease Control (NCDC), the Federal and States Ministries of Health, Frontline medical and Health workers, stakeholders and the Nigerian populace in obedience to guideline and instructions for the nation’s collective drive to tame, control and combat COVID-19 scourge.

He said in line with the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari, the APBN believes that professional talents, sourced through the existing strong Professional Bodies in the country, should be the closest assets of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19.

He said, “In the opinion of the APBN, avenues should be opened and linkages established immediately with all the professional bodies, in other to maximize our in-country unique solutions to help in mitigating the scourge. Were this to have been the case ab-initio, the furore by the populace, over the sudden appearance of the Chinese experts and gifts could have been doused and the issue better scrutinized and understood, resulting in the adoption of the most pragmatic strategy, if at all necessary.”

The APBN president also called for a palliative for private companies in order to reduce their overhead cost to allow them to retain their employees instead of downsizing.

He recommended that a bailout to the companies to meet up with their low turnover due to general restrictions of movement and business activities occasioned by the current coronavirus pandemic in the country and indeed the world-over would help companies retain their workforce even without production of goods and services for the period of the lock-down.

The APBN boss implored the PTF to continue to avail Nigerians, necessary and up to date information on its activities so that it does not work at cross purposes with professional frontline actors and stakeholders, stressing that information is power and is a fundamental tool to winning the COVID-19 war.

According to him, the APBN also welcomed the planned adequate life insurance for health professionals in the country, saying this should be fast-tracked and commenced immediately.

“APBN calls on the PTF to involve and engage professional associations in Health sector namely Nigerian Medical Association NMA, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria PSN, Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria AMLSN, National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives NANNM and Medical and Health workers in the technical component of the task force,” he said.

He expressed delight with the Federal Government over the approval of N500 billion through the Minister of Finance to upgrade Federal Health facilities, intervention to support states and provision of 1000 person per each LGAS of the federation in special public work and for other interventions.

Engr Ajibola, however, urged the federal, state and local government to ensure that clear terms of action, planning and disbursement is done with required urgency, honesty, accountability and transparency in the grassroots intended.

The statement reads further, “APBN aligns with the statement of Director General of World Health Organization WHO, Dr Tedross that “Africa cannot and will not be a testing ground for any vaccine”, and that any vaccine must go through set standard protocol.

“APBN continues to advocate for indigenous production of our medical and health needs and other materials bothering on professionalism. The stimulus by Central Bank of Nigeria CBN to encourage this must be allowed with transparency to see the light of the day.”

Meanwhile, it is worthy of note from our member bodies that up till now no direct official links had been made with them to offer their expert advice and/or service in its support. Notwithstanding this, efforts are being made, in their individual professional domains, to etch solutions and make suggestions to help the situation.

The statement reads further, “considering in-country solutions, we acknowledge the experts at NASENI, who have designed and built prototypes of some key equipment needed in the fight, within this short period of time. We advise that the PTF follows this development up by scouting for industries that can mass produce them and help to direct funding and incentives to such companies.

“The same applies to others who have come up with other helpful devices and materials. The Association continues to advocate for indigenous production of our medical and health needs and other materials bothering on professionalism. The stimulus by Central Bank of Nigeria CBN to encourage this must be allowed with transparency to see the light of the day.

“APBN calls on the PTF to unequivocally ensure that any visiting medical or other professional advisory team is subjected to the isolation guidelines and protocols prescribed by the COVID-19 and other Laws of our Country. This must be enforced with the utmost transparency.

“We are not averse to the cooperation with the international community that gave way to the People’s Republic of China, China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC), through its subsidiary China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (‘CCECC’), in supporting Nigeria in its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic that is adversely affecting livelihoods and economies across the world by making available necessary medical equipment and health consumables. We, however, advise compliance with the extant laws of the Federal Republic pertaining to the transaction, while observing due process and transparency.

“The economic downturn that may be engendered by this scourge notwithstanding, we pray that our country will scale through with the minimum loss of lives. It is therefore required that the post-pandemic economic recovery activities should start engaging our national consideration as from now. This is again where appropriate professionals will become very important in fashioning the process of restoration of industrial production, as well as the service industry.

“In the meantime, effort should be directed at sustaining production in some select sectors, such as, pharmaceutical and food-producing industries which require some of their raw materials from a world that is ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic. Serious efforts must be concentrated to devising the special steps to be taken to minimize total collapse.”

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