Eniola Akinkuotu, Abuja
The Federal Government says Nigeria loses at least N80bn to road crashes yearly.
The government also said terror attacks had become the leading cause of violent deaths in Nigeria.
The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, said this in Abuja during the handover ceremony of 31 ambulances donated by the Japanese Government to Nigeria on Friday.
Adewole said after terror attacks, the second leading cause of violent deaths were road accidents.
The minister said, “Traffic accidents involving the road, air and sea have become normal and recurring 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 deaths in Nigeria. According to the Federal Road Safety Corps 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.”
The minister said so far, Nigeria had lost at least N80bn to road crashes.
He, therefore, stated that the ambulances could not have come at a better time.
Adewole added, “According to a World Health Organisation report in 2015, one in every four road crash deaths in Africa occurs in Nigeria, having a higher death toll than malaria. Hardly does a day go by without the occurrence of road accidents leading to injuries and deaths 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 N80bn annually to road accidents.”
Adewole said in response to this ugly trend, the Ministry of Health had for the first time produced a robust policy on Emergency Medical Services, including the use of ambulance.
He explained that the policy links emergency services personnel, trauma pathways, Integrated National Ambulance Service System, and the toll-free three-digit number 112 to government agencies in the business of emergency services.
The minister said besides the 31 ambulances donated on Friday, the Japanese Government had promised to give Nigeria 12 more ambulances by 2018.
He said the ambulances would be distributed to selected beneficiary tertiary health institutions in the country.
While thanking the Japanese Government for the kind gesture, Adewole said the Japanese would also provide training on the effective management of the ambulances.
Also speaking, the Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Sadanobu Kusaoke, said health was among the top priorities of Japan’s relations with Nigeria.
He said the Japanese Government earmarked ¥400m (approximately $3.5m) for the project.
The ambassador said the ambulances would be delivered to 15 teaching hospitals and 13 Federal Medical Centres in the country.
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Source: The Punch