By Simeon OSAJIE
Efforts to pioneer the first successful Emergency Medical Service operation in Nigeria, Edo State Ministry of Health has on behalf of the government signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Emergency Response Africa (ERA).
ERA, a trailblazer of innovation in healthcare technology in Africa, has secured a grant from the Fund for Innovation in Development (FID), France.
In his welcome address, the State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Samuel Alli stated that the government embark on a collaborative journey to revolutionize the healthcare landscape through the establishment of the Edo State Emergency Medical Services (EMS) pilot project. “In a world where timely medical assistance can mean the difference between life and loss, our commitment to enhancing emergency response capabilities is unwavering,” he emphasized.
According to Dr. Alli, “Nigeria, and indeed Edo State, have witnessed the toll of inadequate emergency services. We acknowledge the reality of our contribution to the staggering 6.2 million deaths in Africa annually due to inadequate emergency responses. However, we stand united with ERA to bring about transformational change.
“This grant is the catalyst for our collaboration today, driving us towards a future where responsive emergency services are within reach of every citizen in need.
“Our visionary EMS project revolves around community-based first responders and skilled paramedics. These heroes will stand as the lifeline between critical moments and comprehensive care. Our commitment to technology is “unwavering, as we integrate advanced communication systems to synchronize and expedite emergency responses, reducing precious moments of uncertainty.”
Going further, Dr. Ali added that Edo state government set its sights on the pilot phase in Benin City, covering areas that house 2.5 million people, government recognize the magnitude of this responsibility, while government is armed with a robust plan, leveraging existing resources and recruiting a dedicated force of first responders and paramedics. “Together, we will provide rapid care and forge a path towards a healthier, safer tomorrow,” he assured.
The Health Commissioner added that financial framework of this endeavor is strategically designed, with ERA’s grant from FID contributing 60% and Edo State Government pledging the remaining 40% as counterpart funding. This investment is not just monetary; it’s an investment in the lives and well-being of our people.
In conclusion, Dr. Samuel Alli admonished all stakeholders, partners and individual to embark on this transformative journey, united in our pursuit of excellence in healthcare, for the people of Edo State and for the nation.
In her remarks, Co-founder Emergency Response Africa, Folake Owodunni said
The project has being in conception to about almost a year now, and happy to see it come to light with the support by very innovative government of Edo State.
According to her, “Emergency Response Africa is a health technology company, and we started because we saw the effects in preventable death in Nigeria.
“As an organization over the last few years, we have being providing emergency services to the private sector, but we felt that we should really expand that impact to make sure that it touches not just those who can afford to pay but even the most vulnerable. It was important to do this hand in hand with government. And I think that no better government to start with than the Edo State government.
“And with support from the Hon. Commissioner for Health, several of the leaders across different agencies in Edo State government, we conceptualized this budget which we are very glad to be launching today, and it is spudded in the part by FID.
“FID is ‘Fund for Innovation in Development’ and this is a product of the French government agency and the goal of the government is to deliver a cost effective and scalable emergency services module; something that is rooted in the community, something that has buy-in from individuals and something that ultimately build the capacity of the society that is based in. The projects will see us training individuals in the community as Community Based First Responders.
“The financial sustainability of this project is keen that is a beat part of why we done this hand in hand with the Edo State Health Assurance Commission.
Highlight of the ceremony was the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between Edo State Government and Emergency Response Africa for the Implementation of Emergency Medical Services.
Present at the epic making ceremony are representatives of Edo State Hospital Management Agency, Edo State Primary Health Care Development Agency, Edo Health Insurance Commission, Public Safety and Security, Benin Medical Care, Chief Medical Director (CMD) of University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UTGH), Prof. Darlington Obaseki, Ministry of Justice, Edo Specialist Hospital and the host, Edo State Ministry of Health.