Thirty-one ambulance vehicles donated by the Japanese government were on Friday distributed to 31 federal tertiary health institutions across the country.
The vehicles were handed over to heads of the institutions by the Nigerian Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, and the Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria, Sandanobu Kusaoke, at the Eagle Square in Abuja.
The vehicles, Nissan Prado Jeep with fully fitted ambulance kits, constitute the first batch of the donation as an additional 12 are to be delivered later.
The donation is the outcome of a note-verbal agreement signed by the Nigerian and Japanese Governments on September 30, 2014.
Under the agreement, the Japanese Government will also provide training on effective management of the ambulances.
Mr. Adewole, who also represented the Acting President at the handing over ceremony, described the Japanese government as a reliable partner in Nigeria’s quest to develop its health and other sectors.
He said the ambulances were arriving at a time road, air and sea traffic accidents had become a re-occurring phenomena in Nigeria with increasing number of morbidity and mortality.
“As a matter of concern, next to Boko Haram insurgency, road crash is the second highest source of violent death in Nigeria,” Mr. Adewole stated.
“According to the Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, report, Nigeria is among countries with the highest road accident rates in the world, having 5,400 deaths in 12,077 road crashes in 2015 and 18,353 people injured in road crashes between 2009 and 2013.
“Hardly does a day go by without the occurrence of road accidents leading to injuries and death with lots of financial implication to both the society and the individuals involved.
“It is known that 90 per cent of the world’s fatalities on the roads occur in low and middle-income countries; with low income countries having an annual road traffic fatality of 24.1 per 100,000. Also, Nigeria loses about N80 billion annually to road accidents,” the minister said.
A World Health Organisation 2015 report indicated that one in every four road crash deaths in Africa occurred in Nigeria, the carnage having a higher death toll than malaria.
The minister said the donation by the Japanese government would strengthen greater collaboration and partnership between the two countries and deepen their bilateral tie.
“This gesture will contribute immensely in supporting the Federal Government’s efforts in strengthening the National Emergency Response Programme (NERP) of the Federal Ministry of Health.
“Although we need a pool of ambulances dedicated solely to the NERP, the provision of these ambulances to our Tertiary Heath Institutions across the states will ensure that emergency cases requiring ambulance services will be promptly delivered,” Mr. Adewole stressed.
“It is important to note that the donated ambulances have been programmed to be distributed to selected beneficiary Tertiary Health Institutions in the country as one ambulance to each facility in each state of the federation.
“We are optimistic that the knowledge gained from the (training) exercise will enhance the performance of the trained nurses and drivers for effective emergency service delivery,” the minister declared.
Mr. Adewole also thanked the Japanese government for its continual support in other areas of health such as polio eradication, Maternal and Child Health Programme, community health projects, the North-East Agenda and training of health professionals.
He then tasked the head of beneficiary institutions to ensure that the ambulances serve the purpose for which they were meant and that they are well maintained.
The Japanese Ambassador, in his remark, said 12 or 13 more ambulances would come later.
Mr. Kusaoke said health as an essential component of the concept of human security is among the top priorities of his country’s relation with Nigeria.
He said the Japanese Embassy, through Grant Assistance for Grass-Root Human Security Projects (GGP) in partnership with Nigerian local NGOs, had been providing various primary health care facilities for rural communities.
“We have also supplied advanced medical equipment for secondary health care centres and we have been giving scholarship programmes to Nigerian medial undergraduate students for training in Japan.
“These ambulances are the latest example of a series of our aid projects in the health sector, but will not be the last. This is also a follow-up to the TICAD VI declaration last year and I hope our joint-work will help contribute to more intensive and extensive deployment of ambulances in the whole of Nigeria,” he added.
The CMD, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, (LUTH), Chris Bode, commended the exercise as one of the good things happening in the Nigerian health sector.
Mr. Bode said the ambulance will enhance his hospital’s emergency response as the institution only had four ambulances.
“It is a good thing because the ambulance comes kitted with spare parts and few other lifesaving equipment that we can use for resuscitation and stabilization of patients.
“Not only that, our staff have been trained through the embassy on the ABC of how to save lives quickly so that those who do not die before they get to the hospital can be assisted with kits in the ambulance to stabilize them till they get to the hospital,” he said.
Full list of beneficiary institutions
Teaching Hospitals (15)
1. Usman Dan Fodio University Teaching Hospital, Sokoto, Sokoto State
2. Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Zaria, Kaduna State
3. University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, Ilorin, Kwara State
4. University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada, Abuja
5. University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, Maiduguri, Bornu State
6. Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Hospital, Bauchi, Bauchi State
7. Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Lagos State
8. Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital, Ile-Ife. Osun State
9. Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki, Ebonyi State
10. Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Awka, Anambra State.
11. University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu, Enugu State
12. University of Uyo Teaching Hospital Uyo, Akwa-Ibom State
13. Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, Irrua, Edo State
14. University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, Calabar. Cross-River State
15. Federal Teaching Hospital, Ido-Ekiti, Ekiti State
Federal Medical Centres (13)
16. Federal Medical Center, Birnin Kebbi, Kebbi State
17. Federal Medical Center, Gusau, Zamfara State
18. Federal Medical Centre, Makurdi, Benue State
19. Federal Medical Centre, Bida, Niger State
20. Federal Medical Centre, Jalingo, Taraba State
21. Federal Medical Centre, Nguru, Yobe State
22. Federal Medical Centre, Owo,Ondo State
23. Federal Medical Centre, Abeokuta, Ogun State
24. Federal Medical Centre, Owerri, Imo State
25. Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia, Abia State
26. Federal Medical Centre, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State
27. Federal Medical Centre, Asaba, Delta State
28. Federal Medical Centre, Yola, Adamawa State
National Orthopedic Hospital (3)
29. National Orthopedic Hospital, Dala, Kano State
30. National Orthopedic Hospital, Igbobi, Lagos
31. National Orthopedic Hospital, Enugu, Enugu State