The President of the Nigeria Medical Association, Professor Innocent Utah, has said that Nigerians should not wait till they start seeing dead bodies on the streets before they believe that COVID-19 exists.
He said this on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily Programme on Monday when he was asked to address the school of thought which says the virus doesn’t exist in Nigeria because people aren’t dropping dead on the streets.
Utah said such school of thought is largely from those who are illiterates.
“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, 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,” he said.
He said doctors will continue to do everything they can and engage the government towards preventing people from dying.
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.”
Utah said that those that die from other diseases are not put on the road “so why should anybody die and be placed on the street before Nigerians will believe” in COVID-19.
“In any case, Nigerians do not believe in anything except how they can get money,” he said.
Expressing disappointment at the poor level of information dissemination, the NMA President said “I don’t know why the much we expect from the National Orientation Agency is not happening.”
He concluded by saying, “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.”