The minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, has said that the newly commissioned motorcycles by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) for effective routine immunisation coverage in remote communities will also serve the purpose of COVID-19 sample collection to centres.
The minister stated this at the National Emergency Medical Services and Ambulance System meeting, in Abuja.
“Motorcycles of NPHCDA can serve the purpose of collecting samples of COVID to centres, so using one stone to kill two birds, you can solve so many problems,” he said.
This is even as the minister said that an emergency medical system in the country can reduce maternal mortality by 25 per cent.
According to him, up to 30 to 40 per cent of maternal mortality can be attributed to not being able to even reach the hospital. He said “If you ask those once that reach the hospital, they will tell you that they were not attended to because they don’t have money to pay. We have 512 per 100,000 maternal mortality, that is about the worst in the world.
“If we are able to have a functional emergency medical system, it means that you can take off about 25 per cent of that figure right away. Because they can get to the hospital.”
Meanwhile, the Guild of Medical Directors (GMD) and Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria (AGPMP) have called on the federal government to involve them in the National Emergency Medical Service and Ambulance System (NEMSAS).
The president, Guild of Medical Directors, Prof. Femi Dokun-Babalola, who led the group during a courtesy visit to the minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire in Abuja, said it was important to carry the private sector along.
According to him, about 70 per cent of all consultations and emergencies do occur in that sphere.
He said at the moment, there are about 20 privately owned ambulances available for use in the scheme within the FCT, adding that many of their members were ready to invest or make their ambulances available provided there is guarantee.
Dokun-Babalola urged that the representation of the private sector in the NCH should not just be by invitation but should be statutory.
“If 70 per cent of the health care in our country takes place in the private sector, it suggests that the NHC needs to be expanded to take care of this demographic,” he said.