The Nigerian government has appealed to the organised private sector, and Non- Governmental Organizations (NGOs) to support it in funding emergency medical services in the country.
The Minister of State for Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, said the call has become necessary because funding of medical emergencies is not only capital intensive for government but has become a huge burden on the national budget.
DAILY POST reports that Enahire stated this while delivering a keynote address at the launch of the National Policy on Emergency Medical Services and Ambulance Services in Abuja on Thursday.
He said: “Direct funding of nationwide Emergency Medical Services, EMS, would place a significant burden on the national budget; so, government cannot do it alone.
“Nigeria would require an estimated 5000 Ambulance units and adequate operational funds, to run the scheme efficiently.
“A major challenge is sustainability. Payment for service is rarely feasible because victims of emergency situations are, as a rule caught unprepared; whereas, operators require reimbursement.
“Therefore, a structure funding mechanism from public sources, like dedicated budget line is needed to start with. This funding will however, be more of seed money, to which other sources of funds will need to be added; such as sundry contributions from corporate social responsibility.”
According to him, the implementation of the newly launched national policy will drive the creation of regulated and coordinated pre-hospital, hospital, and post-hospital rehabilitative care for victims of accidents, disasters, and other violent attacks nationwide.
“If experience from the National Health Insurance Scheme is a lesson to go by, a strong awareness campaign to benefits of contribution to emergency medical fund, needs to be launched to overcome resistance due to ignorance.”