…….Restates commitment to the provision of Swift Ambulance Service & Access to Primary Health Care Service
Lagos State Government has received the donation of eight new customized state-of-the-art Mobile Intensive Care Unit (MICU) Ambulances and a well-equipped Mobile Clinic Truck from two donor partners; Global Fund; an international financing and partnership organization and Mobile Telephone Network (MTN) Nigeria respectively, for the improvement of emergency medical services and provision primary healthcare outreach services in Lagos communities.
The multi-million naira MICU ambulances donated by Global Fund, are equipped with essential medical and built-in emergency equipment and gadget including; main ambulance stretcher with washable mattresses, stainless steel stretcher support, trauma kit, urinal plastic wedge, silicone resuscitator, immobilizers, ECG, Sp02, NIBP, respiration, pulse oximeter and IV hooks which are necessary to provide first aid on-the-spot treatment, stabilizing and supporting patient in transit and safe transportation of patients for further medical management.
The Mobile Clinic truck donated by MTN Nigeria is intended for medical outreaches and primary health care service provision in 14 local government areas in Lagos State as part of MTN’s Yello Doctor Project which is aimed at strengthening primary health care services to underserved communities across Nigeria.
Speaking while receiving the donation of the Ambulances and Mobile Clinic Truck in his office at the weekend, Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi noted that the State government has continued to enjoy support from its development partners, donor agencies, philanthropic organisations and well-meaning individuals who at various times donated items, resources and offered expertise in the State government’s drive to provide efficient, accessible and equitable health services to the citizenry.
He commended Global Fund and MTN Nigeria for donations adding that the noble gestures of the two organisations will further help strengthen the State healthcare delivery system and improve emergency and public health response in Lagos State.
He said: “I would like to commend the donors for recognizing the urgent need to support government and for collaborating with us to strengthen the health care delivery system. Indeed, this is a noble gesture that deserves commendation. We have received medical facilities that are going to help us strengthen our emergency medical response and primary health care platform, which operates like a health post”.
Abayomi explained the eight ambulances which will be added to the fleet of ambulances in the Lagos State Ambulance Service (LASAMBUS) will go a long way in expanding the coverage area of LASAMBUS, adding also that the health truck will bring primary health care services closer to the door steps of citizens and help bridge the access gap in health care services.
“We have been embarking on strengthening our medical emergency unit called the Lagos State Ambulance Service. LASAMBUS was extremely busy during COVID; picking up people who are in respiratory distress and bringing them to our care centres where we could resuscitate them with oxygen and keep them alive.
“Our fatalities in Lagos were extremely low compared to the rest of the world. Not that we didn’t have breathless people, we did, but we were able to rescue a lot of them. Thanks to these kinds of donations that we’ve received from our partners, friends and philanthropic agencies, we were able not allow COVID to overwhelm us, in other words, never at any point did we have more sick people than our system could manage.
“All in all, I think the donation of the ambulances to the State ambulance service is in tandem with a detailed road map for revamping LASAMBUS and ramping up our emergency response”, the Commissioner said.
He added that the ultimate goal is to transform LASAMBUS and take it to a global benchmark standard, with more staff, more equipment, more ambulance bases and points with reduced emergency response time as it is the practice in advance climes.
“So that if you are out there and you have an accident or you require an emergency service in any way, we can deploy an ambulance to you in your time of need very quickly and take you to a health facility where you can be resuscitated and receive further management or referred appropriately”, Abayomi noted.
He explained that the well equipped mobile clinic truck will offer basic primary health care services like immunization and treating of common ailments like malaria. He explained further that the health truck consists of a generator, a doctor and a nurse and can also transform into a small primary health care post.
While noting that appropriate implementation framework will be put in place for the deployment and supervision of mobile clinic truck for medical outreaches, Abayomi said the Lagos State Government is committed to ensuring the delivery of qualitative health care service delivery to the nooks and crannies of the state
Speaking in the same vein, the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Health, Dr. Olusegun Ogboye maintained that LASAMBUS remains committed to the provision of swift and professional emergency services stressing that residents can be assured of getting fast and prompt emergency services when the need arises.
Ogboye further explained that the plan to build ambulance bases across all Local Government Areas of the State is in top gear. He noted that the goal is to ensure that people who need ambulance and emergency services can get it within the shortest possible time.
Earlier in his remarks, the Head Global Fund Grant Management Unit in Lagos, Biodun Omolaja disclosed that Lagos is the only State in Nigeria that has been a direct beneficiary of the Global fund grant.
He said: “Usually when global fund engages countries, it did at the national level, but Lagos is the only State in Nigeria that has gotten direct funding from global fund since 2017 and that is simply because of the structure that government has in place in respect to the health sector response as well as the state approach to ownership and sustainability of various health interventions.
“Between 2017 till date, global fund has committed 40 million dollars to support various health interventions particularly HIV and TB, and of course with the COVID19 outbreak, there was commitment of about five million dollars by global fund to support the incident action plan of the COVID19 response”
Omolaja explained the provision of eight MICU ambulances is to strengthen the State government’s emergency medical service as part of implementation of activities in the State’s COVID19 Incident Action Plan that is being supported by Global Fund.
“The donation of the ambulances is in addition to real time PCR machines and reagents for PCR test provided by Global fund. Global fund will continue to support Lagos in the response against COVID and other various interventions that will improve the quality of life amongst the people of Lagos particularly with TB and COVID response”, he said.
In his own remarks, Director, MTN Foundation, Mr. Dennis Okoro explained that the mobile clinic truck donated by MTN Nigeria through the MTN Foundation will be used to conduct medical outreaches and primary healthcare services in 14 Local Government Areas across Lagos State as a component of the MTN Yello Doctor Project Phase 3.
He disclosed that the 14 LGAs where the outreaches will take place are: Alimosho Apapa, Amuwo- Odofin, Badagry, Eti-Osa, Ifako-Ijaiye, kosofe, Ajeromi-Ifelodun, Ibeju-lekki, Epe, Ikeja, Lagos Mainland Ojo and Shomolu.
“The MTN Yello Doctor Project was launched in 2014 and had implemented Phases one and two in Abia, Delta, Katsina, Niger, Ogun and Taraba States respectively. The project is aimed at strengthening the Nigerian Primary Healthcare system through the provision of free primary healthcare services to underserved communities across Nigeria via mobile medical clinics”, Okoro said.
In attendance at the event are, the Permanent Secretary, Primary HealthCare Board, Dr. Ibrahim Mustafa; Executive Secretary, MTN Foundation, Mrs. Odunayo Sanya; Director Health Care Planning Research and Statistics, Dr. Dayo Lajide; Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Health, Dr. Ore Finnih; and Head Lagos State Ministry of Health Grant Management Office, Chinyere Gift-Okorie.