The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has faulted the Health Minister, Osagie Ehanire, over the handling of welfare for medical experts and first responders of the COVID-19 disease in the country.
At a briefing by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 on Thursday with members of the House of Representatives, Gbajabiamila asked if there was a hazard allowance for the medical experts who are putting their lives at risk to curb the spread of the COVID-19.
But in response, the minister said he was not aware and because they are civil servants, he couldn’t speak much of their payment structure.
Unimpressed by the response, the Speaker said the minister had dropped the ball regarding matters that concerned his sector and area of expertise.
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Over 100,000 Deaths Worldwide
With over 100,000 deaths now recorded globally, nations have continued to make frantic efforts to save lives and curb the spread of the virus.
But those on the frontlines of the fight – medical experts, who have also not been spared from the devastating effects of the COVID-19 are gradually becoming a major source for concern even as healthcare systems world over, become overwhelmed.
In Nigeria, however, more isolation centres are being opened up and more health professionals both locally and internationally are being injected into the system to boost the fight.
The Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) had also stated that it is making all efforts to increase its testing capacity for the COVID-19 in the country.
But the Director-General of the commission, Chikwe Ihekweazu, admitted that the fight against the pandemic has been limited by funds and infrastructure and the “biggest limitation” – human resources.
However, as of April 2, the health minister noted that the testing capacity of the country has improved to 1,500 persons per day.
Earlier in the week also, a 15-man medical team from China, as well as equipment arrived in the country.
Although the news of their involvement was met with split opinion, the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 explained that they would complement ongoing efforts to tackle the pandemic.
They are, however, currently in “100 per cent quarantine” and ready to observe all protocols as stipulated by Nigeria, according to the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Zhou Pingjian.