Covid 19: Chinese Commendable Offer to Help

By Silas Ejiofoh
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I will not consider myself as one of the apologists of president Muhammadu Buhari All Progressive Congress (APC) government in Nigeria. However, the coming of China to assist Nigeria is one of the best decisions any government in Nigeria has ever taken. For those opposing this, I would like to inform that this is a pandemic. Does the word 'pandemic' mean anything to you? I have to ask this question because no reasonable country will ever dream of fighting a pandemic all by itself. It has never happened in history. Not even in the ancient times. As the Chinese battled the virus in Wuhan, the Germans sent them face masks.

In times like this, rational-thinking requires that countries cooperate and share technologies for a common good; in order to save humanity. What is facing the world now is an invisible killer that has the potential to wipe out humanity from the face of the earth. To feeble-minded Nigerians, they might say there is no cause for alarm. To them, it is perfectly okay to keep busy, concentrating our efforts talking down and mocking the Chinese. It is the same way we go on relying on our men of God and prayers to wish the virus away. After all, we believe God will use our African sun to kill it for us. What is even most incomprehensible, is the fact, there are still many people in Africa who do not believe that the Corona virus exists or that it is killing people all over the world. Surprisingly, majority of these people are unfortunately in Nigeria.

Well, as we continue to delude ourselves, by putting all our eggs in one basket. I mean, by relying only on our Nigerian doctors and our substandard health care system, the two arch enemies, the US and China, have seen reason for cooperation. They have pushed their bitterness and politics aside. China is now helping America to fight the Covid-19. Now in their fight against the real and powerful common enemy. Jack Ma, the Chinese billionaire has announced he is sending half a million masks and one million testing kits to help the US. The Americans also accepted help from Russia. The situation right now is so critical that a highly, technological and rich America has become exhausted. The Americans have become so helpless they are running behind advanced countries like Italy and South Korea in testing capability. More than 17 million people in the US have lost their jobs as a result of this virus and are seeking welfare support. They have also recorded more than half a million infection while over 20,000 have died, the figures are rising. While this is going on, some beneficiary countries of Chinese largesse like Argentina, Serbia, Brazil, etc., are proclaiming that China has saved them and their countries.

As we speak, China’s shipments are heading to 51 countries in the world. They include Brunei, Peru, Thailand and enemy Japan. In the same way, the whole of Western Europe e.g., Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Italy, etc., now rely on Chinese shipments as well as medical professionals and know-how. If these rich and advanced countries of the world can accept China shipment, or, let China into their territories for help, I cannot understand why our medical doctors are feeling intimidated. They should understand that it's all about cooperation and broadening of knowledge.

Whether we like it or not, whether in reference to good or low quality of products, whatever derogatory names anyone may choose, or think anything, China has proved to the world what they are capable of. Despite rising from the ashes of a killer pandemic, China has mustered the strength to support the entire world. They have done something no country has ever had the capacity and capability to do. They have stamped their feet on the sands of time. It is such that I am confident that in the aftermath of this crisis China will absolutely emerge as the number one world economic and technological super power.

I know that we have good doctors in Nigeria. I know that they are doing their best to keep together what remains of our wobbling health care as a result of decades of neglect and corruption. Boss Mustapha the secretary to the government of the federation, in his recent meeting with the Nigerian National Assembly as the chairman of the presidential task force on Covid-19, lamented that` he never knew our health care infrastructure was in such poor state. Who knows, this might be a good opportunity to bring about reform, and to overhaul the entire machinery of the Nigerin health and social care system. In the same way, the Lagos state commissioner for health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, while stressing the need for nations to collaborate to fight the killer pandemic, remarked that the Lagos state government is in dire need of scientists, molecular biologists and logisticians from China or wherever they may come from. I will suggest that other state governments in Nigeria should also list areas in which they might need support.

Therefore, this is not the time to trivialize. Even Europe and America are paying a heavy price, as they regret not acting fast enough in responding to early warnings about the pandemic. Now, it is a common knowledge that instead of taking decisive actions in this unprecedented time, like the Chinese did, most of us have preferred to enjoy arguing in nooks and crannies in the social media, mostly along party, ethnic, religious and ideological lines. But, as this effective killer virus rages as wild fire, as it continues to circle the globe, bringing nations to their knees, let us remember that Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa, sharing boarders with many countries. Therefore, any attempt to politicize the fight against the Covid-19 in Nigeria, the failure will have a spillover effect on other countries. The result then might be disastrous for the continent.

Therefore, Nigerian doctors opposing the coming of the Chinese professionals, and those supporting them, should wake up from their slumber and wise up. Most importantly,people in the civil service must stop fighting Western-trained professionals. There should be a synergy and concerted efforts to uplift Africa. The two parties can learn from each other through mutual respect and cooperation. I see a correlation with the Nigerian doctors’ attitude to the coming of the Chinese.

The government should find ways to encourage returnee professionals to find their feet back again in their fatherland; so that they will be able to contribute their quota to the benefit of our society. Though, I do know human beings will continue to be what they are, but as this health crisis continues to rage, lessons are being learnt. Sometimes, I wish our African leaders would look to the East. After all, Cuba, Vietnam, etc., would not have existed today without China. When in their time of tribulation, the West, together with their big brother Uncle Sam betrayed and let them down.

Silas Ejiofoh is a Health and Social Care professional Based in Germany ( [email protected] )

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