‘No emergency medical services, no UHC’

By Hassan Zaggi

 The Chairman, National Emergency Medical Treatment Committee, Dr Felix Ogedengbe, has insisted that Nigeria’s effort to attain Universal Health Coverage (UHC)  will be  a mirage if there is no effective  Emergency Medical Services (EMS).

He reiterated that EMS was a critical level of health care that must be prioritized alongside other levels of care. 

Ogedengbe made his position known at the day- three of the Fourth Annual Legislative Summit on Health in Abuja on Tuesday. 

The Summit is with the theme: UHC and Health Security (HS): Two sides of a coin for an efficient health system convened by the National House of Assembly with support from partners. 

“UHC can’t be achieved without an effective EMS, 

“When the other levels of health care are weak, the burden falls on EMS,” Ogedegbe further said. 

He, however, emphasised the need for national governance structure and national coordination in the country. 

Speaking, The Director-General of the Nigeria Center for Disease Control(NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, charged law makers in the country to consider increasing allocation at all levels in order to better prepare for epidemics prevention in the country.

Represented by the Head of Special Projects and Partnerships Unit at NCDC, Dr. Priscilla Ibekwe, Ihekweazu, said that the  legislature must also ensure that States were able to provide all required health security infrastructure at the subnational level. 

On his part, Country Representative, Global Health Advocacy Incubator, Dr. Emmanuel Alhassan, revealed that it takes less than 36 hours for an outbreak to spread from a remote village to any major city in the world, advising that it is  in everybody’s interest to prevent epidemics. 

Alhassan therefore called for transparency in terms of what had been budgeted and spent, answerability of implementing bodies and  controllability to ensure that the intent for the allocation was achieved. 

According to him, health security accountability framework was developed by CSOs in collaboration with key stakeholders, which had different actions to be taken for different results, at the legislative and executive level of government. 

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