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Medical expert seeks establishment of Emergency Medical Service

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Dr. Biodun Ogungbo

A neurological surgeon and the Medical Director, Brain and Spine Surgery, Dr. biodun Ogungbo, has called for the establishment of Emergency Medical Service (EMS) in all states of the federation. 

This, according to him, will facilitate and complement the work of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC). 

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Ogungbo, who made the call in Abuja, said the government needs to rethink its strategies for saving lives and develop the system to ensure that every life matters, adding that government needs to train and deploy more paramedics. 

He explained that paramedics are trained healthcare professionals, whose primary role is to provide advanced emergency medical care for critical and emergent patients, who access the emergency medical system and are often the first on the scene of an emergency with the required training and expertise to help prevent disability and death. 

He said: “A lot of advocacy is required to explain the worth of paramedics to the Ministry of Health, the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) and National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA). The paramedics already trained are a much-needed manpower resource waiting to be deployed. We have paramedics in Nigeria, and I understand that the training takes place mostly at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH).

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“But there are also training centres in Delta, Ogun and Rivers states. The programme, set up in 2008, was designed to churn out graduates every three years. Since its inception, UBTH has graduated about 130 paramedics. Can you imagine having trained paramedics helping in the transfer of critically ill patients from one hospital to another? Can you see the benefit of such, especially during this period of a worldwide pandemic? Can you imagine having trained paramedics helping in the safe transfer of critically injured patients from our roads to hospitals?…”

Ogungbo, who noted that most ambulance drivers in Nigeria are without any skill in life saving techniques, said, “Therein lies our shame and lack of understanding of the role of a paramedic. Many hospitals, including that of yours truly, have just ambulance drivers and rely on other members of the healthcare team, especially nurses, to render emergency care, as necessary…”

He noted that the teeming unemployed youths would gladly take up positions that empower them to save lives. 

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