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The Federal Government is poised to launch the Rural Emergency Service and Maternal Transportation (RESMAT) to address the escalating challenges of maternal and child mortality in Nigeria.
Dr. Saidu Dumbulwa, the National Programme Officer for the National Emergency Medical Services and Ambulance System (NEMSAS), made this announcement during a stakeholders’ meeting in Abuja with the theme “Addressing the Abysmal Maternal Mortality Indices Through Rural Emergency Medical Services”.
The rural emergency transport service
The Federal Government’s health sector renewal investment program, implemented through the sector-wide approach program, prioritises Rural Ambulance and Maternal Transport.
NEMSAS commenced operations in FCT, Yobe, and Anambra States in October 2021 and has received approval to operate in Plateau and Bauchi States.
Plans are underway to extend operations to Ekiti, Ogun, Osun, Ebonyi, Bayelsa, Kano, and Sokoto States within the next quarter.
Dumbulwa emphasised that the emergency medical service involves pre-hospital and in-hospital care, aiming to ensure that care is available promptly, irrespective of one’s ability to pay.
NEMSAS operates on a no-cost basis within the first 48 hours, minimising delays in service provision due to payment constraints.
To strengthen its operations, NEMSAS is forming strategic partnerships with the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) for EMS services on federal highways and adjoining rural communities.
Collaborations with the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) and the private sector, including private hospital services and ambulance service providers, are also part of the initiative.
What you should know
Dumbulwa highlighted the critical issue of delayed transportation as a major contributor to maternal mortality, especially in rural areas.
In Nigeria, approximately nine million pregnancies occur annually, with an estimated nine percent facing complications, mostly in rural settings.
The delay in providing timely transportation significantly contributes to maternal deaths.
The Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) in Nigeria is reported at 576 per 100,000 live births, according to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
Additionally, the under-five mortality rate (U5MR) is 95 per 1,000 live births, accounting for 10 percent of global under-five deaths.
Dr. Emuren Pere, Head of Operations at REMSAT, highlighted the goal of the RESMAT program, emphasizing its role in reducing infant, child, and maternal mortality by providing emergency care and transportation within the critical golden hour.
The program aims to address delays in transportation and referrals for obstetric cases, extend universal access to life support services in rural populations, and ultimately contribute to saving lives and creating jobs.Follow us on social media