FG Begins Free Emergency Healthcare Services In Hospitals, High Ways, Others

Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire.

To curtail the increasing number of avoidable deaths in the country, the Federal Government has commenced free emergency healthcare services.

This was disclosed by The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire on Monday, November 8, 2021 at a press briefing in Abuja.

TheFact Nigeria gathered that many Nigerians have died due to unavailability of prompt emergency response or healthcare services.

Dr. Osagie said, the briefing was to enlighten the public on what the Federal Government was doing about covid-19 and other health threats in the country. He said that the newly formed National Emergency Medical Service and Ambulance System (NEMSAS) was the government’s response to health emergency situations in the country

The National Programmes Manager, National Emergency Medical Service and Ambulance System (NEMSAS), Dr. Saidu Ahmed Dumbulwa said the unit was poised to ensure that emergency medical care was available when and where it was required, irrespective of the patient’s ability to pay.

He noted that delay in service provision, most often due to payment was the cause of many instances of permanent disability and death especially amongst the poor, downtrodden Nigerians.

Dr. Saidu therefore explained that the federal government, through NEMSAS would bear the cost of transportation and treatment of Nigerians who could not afford to transport themselves and pay for services at a point of care.

He said: “Public Sector Health facilities have been identified as potential emergency treatment centres that will receive patients from the emergency ambulance service providers who will pick up patients at point of incident and transport them to the health facility and will be reimbursed accordingly in line with tariffs and claims of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund”, Dr. Saidu explained.

He hinted that private sector ambulances would be incorporated into the unit to ensure that there were sufficient number of ambulances stationed at strategic places around the country.

The NEMSAS Programme Manager further disclosed that the Federal government was going to bear the cost of paying private ambulance emergency services (for a period of not more than 48hours) so this would be at zero cost to Nigerians.

He revealed that the World Bank supported NEMSAS with 70 ambulances and the Global Fund was rendering technical assistance to them.

Dr. Saidu hinted that they would be working with the ministry of information to use the toll free number, 112 for health emergency response, he also said there will be boat ambulances to respond to emergencies in riverine areas and added that talks were ongoing with the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) to integrate them into emergency health services on highways across the country.

The NEMSAS Programme Manager further disclosed that the roll out of the program was starting from the FCT and would be extended to Lagos and Kano before the end of 2021.

This, he said will save the lives of the poor and vulnerable in Nigeria and change the narative of our dismal indices by bridging the gap of the missing link in the health sector.

He hinted that the private sector engagement of emergency ambulance service providers and emergency medical treatment centre would be advertised within the week to enable interested private health facilities participate.

Executive Secretary, National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Prof. Mohammed Sambo disclosed that the Scheme developed a comprehensible e-NHIS program approved by the Federal Executive Council. This program, when completed will assist NHIS completely automate monitoring and controlling connectivity terminals developed in all centers, call management centers for individual enrollees to route out their complains and be attended to.

“The e-NHIS is an infrastructure of world standard, it has an ISO2007 certification, showing it has the capacity to host all the health data in the country and even the continent. It would be able to host health data from numerous countries, just as Nigeria’s own was hosted in South Africa in the last two years before we commenced this program”, the NHIS Boss explained.

He further disclosed that NHIS partnered with the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) and now, with a NIN number, you can approach NHIS and be enrolled into the Scheme

While answering questions from journalists, Prof. Sambo said NHIS was gaining more grounds and there was no data to show people’s withdrawal from the Scheme, against the belief that Nigerians were losing faith in the Scheme.

The Director General Nigeria Center For Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa represented by the Head, Department of Surveillance and Epidemiology, Mrs Elsie Ilori announced that they recorded 212,000 confirmed cases of covid-19 infections and 2906 deaths as part of efforts to stem the pandemic, the NCDC began roll out of rapid diagnostic testing and training of community health workers on contact tracing in states.

Mrs. Elsie added that NCDC would punish business owners who were not complaint with covid-19 non pharmaceutical measures like stationed handwashing facilities.

Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib represented by the Director, Planning, Research and Statistics NPHCDA, Dr. Garba Abdullahi disclosed that out of the 112million eligible people targeted for covid-19 vaccination, only 5,770,899,000 people have received their first jab and 3,146,885,000 have received their second.

He added that the huge difference between the number of targeted eligible persons and those who have been vaccinated was due to few vaccination sites 3-5 vaccination sites in each Local Government Area due to limited amount of vaccines.

This, he said has been corrected and with the decentralisation of vaccination sites he is optimistic that at least 50 million eligible Nigerians would be vaccinated by January, 2022.

Dr. Garba reiterated that the covid-19 vaccines being administered in Nigeria w were credible and recognised globally, he added that there were enough vaccines to cover all eligible Nigerians and therefore urged them to turn up for vaccination.

Director Health Promotion, Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. Ladi Bako-Aiyegbusi said even though the burden of diseases in the country was high, it could be crashed down using simple preventive measures such as frequent washing of hands with soap under running water.

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