In furtherance of it’s efforts to prevent emergency related deaths in the country, the Federal Government in partnership with the private sector has kick started the pilot phase of the National Emergency Medical Service and Ambulance System (NEMSAS) scheme in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The Signing Ceremony of Memorandum of Understanding(MOU) For Operationalisation of NEMSAS and Launch of NEMSAS Implementation Manual took place Monday, February 14, 2022 in Abuja.
TheFact Nigeria gathered that 1million children under 5years die annually and 200 pregnant women die in Nigeria daily, due to unavailability of prompt ambulance services in the country.
In response, the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire stated that, “the Government started the NEMSAS program to address the high rate of maternal, under-5 child and accident mortalities, that have been stagnant in Nigeria in the last few years, despite substantial government and Partner investments to reduce them”.
The Minister explained that, NEMSAS was the operational arm of the third disbursement gateway, designated in the National Health Act with 5% of the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund for Emergency Medical Treatment meant to provide urgent health service to citizens at the moment and place of great health distress.
He added that the significant feature of NEMSAS was that medical care would be offered at no immediate out-of-pocket cost to the beneficiary, at Point of Care.
Ehanire noted that another feature of the Scheme that will enhance its sustainability was the Ministry’s partnership with the Association of Private Medical and General Practitioners, the Guild of Medical Directors and other stakeholders, to form the Emergency Medical Treatment Committee (EMTC) chaired by a Private Sector Partner.
Citing the roles to be played by some of the sister agencies included in the emergency services program, the Health Boss said:
“Fee-for-service payment to service providers is by special agreement with National Health Insurance Scheme NHIS, on their well established electronic payment platform, a unique intersectoral collaboration that allows NEMSAS to electronically reimburse accredited service providers.
“Medical help comes at the call of 112, a number provided and maintained by the Nigerian Communication Commission in 24 States and counting. The call is a free of charge public service for the sick or injured and avoids delay in accessing treatment or transport. It is relayed to manned EOC (Emergency Operations Centre) of every State and the FCT”, he explained.
The Health Boss, in a final note, posited that the NEMSAS program could solve issues of lives lost due to lack of FirstAid and transport from home or accident scene to treatment, or lives lost to denial of treatment due to inability to pay.
He added that it would also provide jobs and using lessons learnt from FCT delivery model, the Rollout will follow in State by State with functional 112 toll free Emergency Call facility, till all States are integrated to the network.
Earlier, in her remarks, Minister, Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Farouk said NEMSAS, which was formed in the same year (2019) with her ministry was the government’s response to the cry of the poor and vulnerable. She therefore pleased that the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) be included in the Scheme.
Similarly, in his remarks, the National Program Manager, NEMSAS, Dr. Saidu Dumbulwa said:
“The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), signed with the NHIS, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Association of Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria (AGPMPN), Guild of Medical Directors (GMD), and Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) for the operationalisation of the immediate pilot Phased roll-out in the FCT, will make necessary tools available to operationalise the NEMSAS Programme in a bid to save the lives of the poor and vulnerable Nigerians through the Provision of accessible, free Medical emergency service and Ambulance system at no cost to Patient at a point of care in the first 48 hours in Nigeria”, he said.
Dignitaries at the ceremony included: Minister of the FCT, Alh. Muhammad Musa Bello, Minister of State for Health, Sen. (Dr.) Olorunnimbe Mamora, Chairman Senate Committee on Health, Sen. (Dr.) Ibrahim Oloriegbe, Representative of the Corp Marshal, FRSC, Dr. Boboye Oyeyemi, Executive Secretary, NHIS, Prof. Muhammad Sambo, President, Guild of Medical Directors, Dr. Raymond Kuti.