In line with efforts to kick-start the National Emergency Medical Service and Ambulance Scheme (NEMSAS), the Federal Government, with the assistance of the World Health Organisation (WHO) has trained 85 basic emergency care providers in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The 2-week Basic Emergency Course (BEC) which had in attendance different health professionals in and around the FCT was concluded with a ceremony on Friday, August, 2022 in Abuja.
Speaking at the ceremony, WHO Nigeria Country Representative, Dr. Walter Molumbo explained that, Basic Emergency Care was an important component of WHO strategy to address mortality through emergency services therefore, they have made it a priority for action in Nigeria.
Dr. Molumbo, while referring to the Course noted that the facilitators and master trainers were the most important resource in the roll out of Emergency Medical Service in the country.
“You can have ambulances, high-tech equipment, fancy buildings but if you don’t have manpower to take care of those who need emergency health services, then all the investment would be a loss. That is why we are proud that Nigeria is writing a new story, a new way of addressing high morbidity and mortality linked to emergency services.
“The Covid-19 pandemic was an eye-opener and I am happy we took some of the lessons learned to improve the services we provide out there”, he said.
Similarly, NEMSAS National Programs Manager, Dr. Saidu Dumbulwa stated the Nigerian government was committed to the universal health coverage by comprehensive planning for medical emergencies through dedication of 5% of the basic healthcare provision fund of the National Health Act.
Dr. Dumbulwa further stated that NEMSAS was working with WHO to strengthen the National Health System by institutionalising the emergency medical service and ambulance system and establishing an emergency medical services that is effective, at no cost to the patient within the first 48hours of care.
He thanked the WHO for supporting the NEMSAS program by building the capacity of health care providers ahead of the roll out.
Explaining the process flow for the operationalisation of NEMSAS, Dumbulwa said, “A member of the public calls the emergency toll free number 112 to the emergency call center, the call center directs call to the ambulance unit which dispatches most suitable ambulance closer to the incident. The ambulance service provides resuscitative care and transfer the patient to the appropriate care then returns for another call.
“The ambulance system would be a Government owned program but driven by the private sector to save lives and also create jobs.
“The Federal Ministry of Health will continue to collaborate with the Stakeholders such as ICRC, World Bank to ensure Nigeria continue to access high quality training to its health care professionals.
“If this knowledge is applied, many lives, especially those of the poor and vulnerable Nigerians”, he said.
Also speaking, the National Master Lead Trainer, Prof. Micheal Ode disclosed that
the goal of the BEC was to train all emergency care providers along the structured course to be able to provide timely, adequate and life saving care to all those who need it.
“We’ve undergone two weeks of very intensive trainings of various cadres of health care professionals, Doctors Nurses and all those who would attend to emergencies in their various locations, hospitals and health facilities around the country and within the FCT.
“Over this course of 2 weeks, we have been able to train 85 basic emergency care providers. The goal is not just to train providers but to train teachers who would train other providers to step down and have a large pool of basic emergency care providers across the country.
“We hope that this roll out that has started will continue with such intensity to provide the necessary human capacity that’ll be able to train and ultimately provide this course to deserving Nigerians who require it particularly at the point of emergencies”, Prof. Ode stated.
He also noted that the training was structured to teach people how to attend to emergencies even in very resource poor settings, taking into cognizance the equipment and facilities available in low and middle income countries.