Nigeria loses N80 billion annually due to road accidents, the Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, said in Friday.
Mr. Adewole who made this known at a handover ceremony of 31 ambulances donated by the Japanese Government in Abuja, said Nigeria was among countries with the highest rates of vehicle accidents globally.
“As a matter of concern, next to Boko Haram Insurgency, road crash is the second highest source of violent death in Nigeria.
“According to FRSC reports, Nigeria is among the 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.
“According to WHO report in 2015, one in every four road crash deaths in Africa occur in Nigeria, having a higher death toll than malaria.
“Also, Nigeria loses about N80 billion annually to road accidents,’’ he said.
The minister said the donation of the ambulances was the outcome of a Memorandum of Understanding both parties signed in September 2016.
He added that the ambulances donated by the Japanese government would support the Federal government’s policy on emergency medical services, developed in 2016 in response to the trend of road accidents.
Mr. Adewole further said that the ambulances were to be distributed to selected tertiary health institutions in each state of the country.
“This move by the Japanese government has provided the opportunity to strengthen greater collaboration and partnership between our two countries.
“This gesture will contribute immensely in supporting the Federal Government’s efforts in strengthening the National Emergency Response Programme of the Federal Ministry of Health.”
In his address, Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria, Sadanobu Kusaoke, said health was among the top priorities of Japan’s relations with Nigeria.
Kusaoke said that the ambulances were part of a series of Japan’s aid project to Nigeria’s health sector.
“Through our Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects, the Japanese Embassy, in partnership with local NGOs, has been providing various primarily health care facilities for rural communities.
“We have also supplied advanced medical equipment for secondary health centres; another support is scholarship programmes for undergraduate medical students for training in Japan.
“”These ambulances are the latest example of a series of our aid projects in the health sector.”
He said the ceremony marked the delivery of the first batch of 31 ambulances in health centres in the country.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the remaining 12 ambulances would be handed over in 2018.
NAN also reports that the Japanese Government earmarked 400 million Japanese Yuan (approximately 4.1 million dollars) for the project.
The ambulances would be delivered to 15 teaching hospitals and 13 Federal Medical Centres in the country.