The Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, will serve as the pilot State for the implementation of the National Emergency Medical Service and Ambulance System (NEMSAS).
NEMSAS Working Group led by the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, on a visit to the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) 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% to 70% of medical services in the country were provided by the private sector.
He 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.
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.
“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”.
“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”, Ogedegbe
Responding, 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.
“On 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”., he added