ABUJA – The Chairman, Subsidy Re-Investment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P), Gen. Martin-Luther Agwai, has said that the agency had procured 100 vehicles for its national ambulance service scheme.
Agwai, who said this at the launch of the scheme in Abuja, explained that the ambulance scheme was specifically designed for maternal and child health care in the country.
It would be recalled that the Maternal and Child Health (MCH) project is one of the safety net projects of the Federal Government initiated by SURE-P.
SURE-P MCH aims to contribute to the reduction of maternal and newborn deaths in Nigeria.
The project was also designed to ensure that Nigeria meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 4 and 5.
Agwai said the launching of the ambulance for the rural populace was another giant stride by President Goodluck Jonathan targeted at improving maternal and child health care in the country.
Agwai said that the SURE-P MCH Programme is currently being implemented in 1000 primary health care facilities and 250 referral hospitals.
He said that the hospitals served as referral centres across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. (FCT)
Agwai said that as at August 2014, 1.2 million women had received antenatal care, while 200, 000 babies have been delivered at the instance of SURE-P’s supported facilities.
He said SURE-P was aware that one of the major obstacles to accessing and receiving better maternal health care services was the absence of mobility.
Agwai said SURE-P, in conjunction with the National Primary Health Development Agency, decided to establish a robust referral system by providing transportation for the health care centres.
He said the collaboration led to the procurement of 100 ambulances for distribution to SURE-P supported facilities across the country.
According to him, the ambulances will also make provision for children who will require referral for secondary and tertiary care.
“With this gesture, pregnant women can be referred with else and at no cost when this services commence at the various SURE-P supported facilities across the country,” he said.
He urged the health managers in all the health centres to ensure proper use of the ambulances in their various centres where it would be deployed.
Also speaking, the Minister of Health for State, Dr Haliru Alhasan, represented by Dr Wapuda Inuwa, Director Family Health, said that the launching of the ambulances was another bold step by the current administration.
He said the ambulances would improve maternal and child care services in the country.
Alhasan said Nigeria’s efforts in the health sector had been widely acknowledge in the global arena.
“The health and survival of women and children is the priority of the transformation agenda of the government and the priority of the health sector,” he said.
The minister said the launching of the national ambulance service scheme by SURE-P in the 36 states and FCT would help mitigate the suffering of women.
Earlier, the Executive Secretary, National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr Ado Mohammed, said Nigerian accounts for two per cent of the global population but accounts for 10 per cent of global maternal and child death.