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Dissecting government agencies’ readiness for emergency response

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Staff of Ondo Emergency Medical Services Agencies (ODEMSA) rescuing an accident victim in Akure recently. PHOTO: Oluwaseun Akingboye

Some disasters are natural, while others are man-made. Emergency situations that may result from disasters, whether natural or human induced include epidemics, road accidents, building collapse, fire outbreaks and floods, among others and others.

Several lives and property worth millions of naira have been lost to such disasters over the years.

To respond to such unforeseen situations, governments at different levels had established emergency management agencies to handle them.

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This has once again raised questions on how prepared the agencies are in responding and handling emergency situations.

Is it a case of the barber not knowing how to barb or of the blade being blunt? It may be both!

If that is the case, why is government establishing emergency response agencies without adequate funding and monitoring of their activities?

Findings have revealed that while some of the agencies lack manpower and funding, others are moribund and at best incapable of withstanding or managing emergency situations as required and expected.

Some are also hunted by nonchalant attitude of their personnel, lack of equipment and corruption, which are cankerworms that have eaten deep into the fabrics of the Nigerian society.

It is in line with this worrisome situation that the minister of Health, Prof. Isacc Adewole, disclosed recently that the Federal Government was not fully prepared to handle any health emergency that may befall the country.

He said this in Abuja, while speaking at the closing ceremony of the Joint External Evaluation of Nigeria’s health regulations.

In his words: “If you look at how prepared we are for emergencies, the answer is simple, we are not yet there. We must not leave it to God. We must leave it to humans. This is a situation where we must take charge of our destiny.”

The minister stressed the need for a stronger synergy among government agencies to strengthen disease surveillance and control in the country.


In this article:
Isacc AdewoleODEMSA
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