The President of the Nigerian Medical Association, Professor Innocent Utah, has said only uneducated Nigerians question the existence of COVID-19 because they have not seen people dying on the streets.
Utah said this while addressing the doubts expressed by some Nigerians regarding the existence of the coronavirus in Nigeria on a Channels TV programme on Monday.
He described those doubting its existence in the country as illiterates, saying, “If we are waiting for people to die on the road before we intervene, then there is no need to have doctors
“We have what we call preventive medicine. We want to prevent it; we don’t want people to die. Doctors are trained not to be looking for dead people. Doctors are trained to prevent people from dying.
“How many people have Nigerians seen dying even in the hospital, not to talk about a situation where the whole world is on its knees because of COVID? So, that statement, I think, is largely for those who are illiterates.”
The NMA President faulted the low level of public awareness regarding the pandemic, saying, “I don’t know why the much we expect from the National Orientation Agency is not happening.
“Nobody should have the illusion that COVID-19 does not exist. Even policymakers are making statements that COVID-19 does not exist. It’s very painful when the whole world is on its knees because of COVID-19 and somebody will come out and say that it does not exist.”
He said as doctors, they would “ensure that people do not die.”
He said, “We have a branch of medicine called community medicine and preventive medicine. This is the discipline that ensures that people do not die. We intervene early, prevent death, prevent ill-health and promote health.
“And in that case, that is what we as doctors will continue to preach, propagate, advocate and engage with the government to do so that we do not need people to die or to be seeing dead bodies on the road before we can believe that there is COVID-19.”