National emergency medical services: Nigeria’s capital city to serve as pilot for Emergency Medical Service and Ambulance System

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Hon. Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, and Permanent Secretary, FCTA, Mr Olusade Adesola during the courtesy by the Working Group of the National Emergency Medical Service and Ambulance System (NEMSAS) to the FCTA.

By Anthony Maliki

The Federal Capital Territory will serve as the pilot State for the implementation of the National Emergency Medical Service and Ambulance System (NEMSAS).

This was disclosed during a courtesy visit of the NEMSAS Working Group led by the Hon. Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire to the FCTA.

Speaking during the visit, the Minister of Health said that the availability of an Emergency Medical and Ambulance service in the country could save up to 50% of lives lost due to the non-availability of such services.

Dr Ehanire also revealed that section 18 of the National Health Act empowers the Minister to engage the private sector to work with the public sector in any endeavor for the benefit of the country.

Thus, the Minister said the Association of General Private Medical Practitioners and the Guild of Medical Directors were already engaged, as 60%-70% of medical services in the country were provided by the private sector.

The Minister also disclosed that the ambulances that will participate in the scheme will be drawn from the private and public sectors which will be accredited and paid from a laid down mechanism that will guarantee payment for providers of such services.

Speaking during his presentation on the workings of NEMSAS, the Chairman of its Emergency Treatment Committee, Dr Felix Ogedegbe said that the FCT was selected as the pilot for the programme due to the availability of an extremely competent leadership, pre-hospital and in-hospital emergency services and an adequate monitoring and evaluation environment.

In his words “we feel that the FCT has a very healthy environment to be able to pilot the scheme with a strong and competent leadership here that we can speak to, that we can actually work with, leadership in the political space and leadership in the medical space”.

He continued “there is potentially available pre- hospital and in-hospital medical services that will be able to afford care to all the disease ranges that we can find. There is a well laid down structure in the FCT and we think this is the best place to start”.

In his response, the Permanent Secretary, FCTA, Mr Olusade Adesola who received the visiting health team on behalf of the FCT Minister, said that  being chosen to serve as the pilot state for such an important national health programme was an honour to the FCT.

He said that there was the availability of good road network, functional communication systems and good urban facilities that can support the scheme.

Speaking further he said “from our part, we are ready. We will be willing to partner with the technical team so that we can take this service to the next level. We want to see it deployed early enough so that residents of the FCT, our unity city, will know that indeed, there is a government that cares for them”.

In his submission, the Director General of the FCT Emergency Management Agency, Dr Idriss Abass, lauded the programme, stressing  that it could not have come at a better time.

Also present at the event were the Chief of Staff to the FCT Minister, Malam Bashir Mai-Bornu, the Acting Secretary of the Health and Human Services Secretariat, Dr Muhammed Kawu, the General Manager of the Hospital Management Board, Dr Francis Alu, and the Director of the medical and diagnostics Department of the HHSS Dr Abubakar Ahmadu, Director, Department and Communication, Mrs Stella Ojeme  and other senior members of staff of the FCTA.

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