FG to establish free emergency ambulance services

Nigerians will soon have free and easy access to medicare as the Federal Government is set to establish an emergency medical and ambulance management system across the country in line with the best world practices on health care delivery services.

The indication was given by the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire while declaring opened a 2-day Health Summit in Bauchi on Monday saying that also included in the plan is the provision of a functional General Hospital in every LGA and one Comprehensive PHC in every political ward in the country.

Osagie Ehanire added that when fully functional, Nigerians particularly pregnant women can just call the ambulance to convey her to the nearest health facility to be attended to free of charge stressing that government is committed to effective health care reform in the country.

On the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, the Health Minister said that it came at a time when most countries including Nigeria were less prepared, therefore “exposing our inadequacies in health care delivery services. We were caught hands down though we were able to tackle and overcome the pandemic.”

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He further said that “we are planning to have a 24-hour effective primary health care delivery services, the agency will have a regular power supply most probably through solar energy, free flow of water and every other thing needed for effective and efficient service. We hope that state governments will key into the project.”

The Minister also said that health reform is what is needed to make service delivery in the sector more efficient and effective for the people to feel the positive impact saying that, “this administration take health care delivery services very important the more reason it is doing everything possible to make it service friendly for Nigerians to access.”

In his opening speech, Bauchi State governor, Sen Bala Mohammed Abdulkadir declared that a total of 2,116 ghost workers mainly from the Ministry of Health have been identified and removed from the payroll of the state government saying that among them were 100 medical doctors.

The governor added that 120 Primary Health Care Staff working with MDAs within and outside the state who were collecting salaries from the coffers of the state government were also removed from the payroll.

The governor said that: “As a state, we are putting our house in order by blocking leakages and administrative infractions in the system, one of which is the issue of posting and making sure that human capital is really put in place.”

Bala Mohammed added that: “In our efforts to clean the state payroll, we have recently removed 2,116 ghost workers from the State Health Ministry, among them, are 100 doctors and 120 Primary Health Care Staff working with MDAs within and outside the state who are collecting salaries from the Bauchi State government.

“Even after they have officially exited from service, they were still collecting salaries. We will continue this exercise in order to free resources which we will deploy to critical areas of need especially in the health sector,” he assured.

He also said that due to the insecurity in the North East subregion, the demographics of the state have changed dramatically with circumstantial immigrants who have increased the population of the state from 4.6 million a few years ago to 7.8 million as of now.

Bala Mohammed, therefore, requested the Minister of Health to give special consideration to Bauchi because it is managing so many people which have led to an overstretch of the health facilities in the state.

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He lamented that: “Currently, we have only 56 doctors and we must make sure we attract people by whatever means that can come and fill this infrastructural gaps in terms of patient-to-doctor deficit.”

The governor also said that his administration has established the state contributory agency which has fully taken off with an initial enrollment of 250,000 vulnerable groups across the 20 Local Government Areas of the state who will benefit from the basic health provision.

“A new Agency, Bauchi Health Trust Fund has also been created by this government to mobilize resources for financing health care,” he stated.

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