President of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Innocent Ujah, has tackled co-founder of Microsoft Foundation, Bill Gates, over his recent comment on low rates of COVID-19 infections and deaths in Africa.
Gates had claimed that Africa’s poor health system could be responsible for the low COVID-19 figures in the continent, noting that such might not properly represent the reality on the ground.
But in an interview with SaharaReporters, Ujah called out Gates for making an assertion without providing relevant facts to back it up.
He said, “What does he mean by gaps in health care? Does he have evidence? If he has no evidence, then it is not backed by facts, that is his own perception. If he has no evidence, then it is not backed by anything.
“Anybody can just say anything but if he has done his study and established the fact that even more people are dying than what is reported, then it means that we can agree with him but he has no evidence, as far as I am concerned. In that case, it is difficult to accept what he is saying.”
The NMA president, however, expressed worry that the COVID-19 pandemic has relegated the attention given to other diseases in the country.
Commenting on the country’s response to other diseases amid the coronavirus pandemic, Ujah said “Whether in Europe, America or Nigeria, other diseases have taken the back seat because of the national response to COVID-19 and you know it has health, economic and social implications. Every country is focusing on ensuring they contain the pandemic; I think that is the most important thing.
“Every other disease probably has taken the back seat but they are not as aggressive, not that they are neglecting those with these diseases. If these people go to the hospital, they will still treat them but the focus in terms of national response is on COVID-19. However, when they go to the hospital, they get services that they need.”