NEMSAS Director, Dr. Dumbulwa avoids stating cost of NEMSAS programme

The Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, (NCDC) Dr Ifedayo Adetifa has attributed the Measles and Yellow fever outbreaks to disruptions on routine immunization and other essential healthcare services, caused by the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.

Dr. Adetifa made the attribution in Abuja while speaking at the bimonthly briefing of the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire which had in attendance several heads of departments of the Federal Ministry of Health.

He also said the NCDC in collaboration with representatives from the global tax force for the control of cholera at the International Federation of Red Cross and Crescent societies (IFRC), as at last week, reviewed Nigeria’s National Strategic Plan for Cholera Control.

“We continue to see the consequences of the COVID pandemic on the disruption it caused to essential services especially immunization because we still seeing measles outbreaks, we are still seeing yellow fever outbreak and we know that a lot of these are happening because all of the vaccination campaigns and indeed even the routine immunization were significantly disrupted in the past year or more.

“Last week we reviewed Nigeria’s National Strategic Plan for Cholera Control and these are part of our collaborative efforts to end cholera in Nigeria by keeping it on the public health agenda, including the target of achieving a 90% reduction in cholera deaths by 2030.”

Also speaking, the Director of Planning, Research and Statistics at the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, NPHCDA, Dr. Garba Bulama stated that Nigeria’s full vaccination statistics stands at 19%, describing it as a far cry from the targeted 70% vaccination by September this year.

Dr. Bulama explained that Nigeria cannot join Western countries to lift COVID-19 protocols just yet, because it has not attained herd-immunity as they have; and urged citizens to continue to respect all protocols that have not yet been lifted.

Read: How Abuja Residents Can Tackle The Cholera Outbreak in The Midst of COVID-19

“As at the 19th June of 2022 the total target of 111 million Nigerians for COVID-19 vaccination throughout the vaccination cycle, a total of 21 million 236 thousand 404 people have so far been fully vaccinated with COVID-19 vaccines while 25 million 426 thousand 564 people have been partially vaccinated and a total of 1 million 565 have received their booster doses.

“These statistics have indicated that only 19% of the eligible population have so far been fully vaccinated and only 25.4% have been partially vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccines. And from this, we can see that we are very far away from the journey of achieving 70% of our eligible population by September.

“We are aware that other many countries are opening and lifting some COVID-19 restrictions especially travellers but one thing we want to tell Nigerians is that all those countries that are lifting all those kinds of bans are because they have reached their herd immunity. In these countries you will see that over 80% of their population have been vaccinated with COVID-19 vaccines and that is why they don’t mind they open their borders.

“For us here we have just achieved 20% therefore it is very risky for us to say that because other countries are no longer worried about the COVID-19 restrictions then we will not take our vaccines. Please we should make sure that we immunize ourselves, we should make sure that our families are vaccinated, we should ensure that our neighbours are vaccinated and we should ensure that whoever listens to us is informed and mobilised to go and take vaccines.”

On his part, the Director, National Emergency Medical Services and Ambulance system, NEMSAS, Dr. Saidu Dumbulwa explained that all was set for the roll out of the programme in the Federal Capital Territory in a couple of weeks until the end of July as a pilot test for the National plan.

However, our correspondent asked to know the cost implication in naira and kobo of NEMSAS programme which is to be funded by a percentage of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund, (BHCPF) but Dr. Dumbulwa’s response was hazy and no mention was made of how much was budgeted for the programmes, how much has so far been spent or even a projection of what the cost implication will likely be.

NEMSAS Director, Dr. Saidu Dumbulwa

This was how he responded, “The question is about the cost implication of the NEMSAS programme so let me quickly highlight so that the house will understand that the NEMSAS that is part of the Basic Emergency Care Services will receive 1% of the Consolidated Revenue Fund and the Fund will disbursed centrally for the EMSAS which will be our own established system for both ambulance services and emergency treatment centres.”

“So for the cost implication we are having a fund raise for both ambulance services and also for the emergency response service. We have classified the ambulances into Basic Life-Support Ambulance and Advanced Life-Support Ambulances and one will be assigned one per kilometer along ring roads in the metropolitan. And if the business actually happen to increase, as it is increasing then the money will be based on the based on the kilometer actually covered by that ambulance.

“And also for the emergency treatment centre we classified the cost implication in terms of is it a minor treatment, intermediate of serious treatment. And we also have NHIS billing system which we are going to use all within the first 48 hours.

Read: NCDC takes stock after 2 years, says COVID caused highest investment in health

“So ladies and gentlemen this is about the cost implication, however, you may wish to know that accountability framework is very embedded in the programme and we also have independent verification that will verify the claims that are being submitted by the ambulance services or from the emergency medical treatment centre both from the public and also private sector. Thank you very much.”

We however, look forward to receiving information on how much money was taken from the Consolidated Revenue Fund for investment into the NEMSAS programme.

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