HEALTH MINISTRY LAUNCHES EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICE IN WESTERN AREA
By Ibrahim Sorie Koroma
Health Education Officer – HED/MoHS
The Ministry of Health and Sanitation in collaboration with World Bank, Doctors with Africa/CUAMM and other health partners has on Tuesday 27th November launched the much anticipated National Emergency Medical Service, popularly known as NEMS for Western Area at the Miatta Conference Hall in Freetown.
Acting Chief Medical Officer in the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Dr. Amara Jambai, while pointing out the purpose of the event, noted that the National Emergency Medical Service started in 2016 and that they have come a long way to make it operational. Dr. Jambai reiterated that the National Emergency Medical Service is FREE of cost for health emergencies within the Free Health Care Initiative/package.
He hoped that Government and other partners would be in the position to continue with the NEMS after the end of the two-year contract with Doctors with Africa/CUAMM, as they are the NGO partner that would be managing the National Medical Service until such a time when it would be transferred to the Ministry of Health and Sanitation.
He further noted that they had already trained Paramedics and Ambulance Drivers to ensure quality service delivery and continued that 13 Ambulances would shortly be deployed in Western Area for timely response to any health emergencies.
He noted that there were always going to be some challenges and advised Paramedics and Ambulance Drivers to approach their work with sense of empathy and professionalism, as their work is to save lives.
Dr. Jambai also warned road users and pedestrians to always give way to NEMS ambulances and further advised Ambulance Drivers to be careful as they would not like to lose lives in the process of saving lives.
Speaking on behalf of the World Bank Team, Senior Health Specialist, Shiyong Wang, expressed that they were pleased to see that the NEMS become a reality and stressed that it is a win-win situation on the part of the Government, Donor Partners, target beneficiaries, Human Resource Development and Job Creation, as these set of youths are now being capacitated enough to contribute top national development. Mr. Wang further stated that the Emergency Medical Service would improve the accessibility of Emergency Services Western Area.
He continued that Doctors with Africa CUAMM is here to help the Government to kick-start the NEMS Programme.
In his statement, the Chief Executive Officer of Doctors with Africa, Paolo Rosi reiterated that the rationale of NEMS was to set-up a National Emergency Ambulance Service in which paramedics would be able to assess and render first aid emergency care before and while going to the hospital/health facility, adding that there was need for proper management of NEMS of which they had been contracted to do for 2 years and stated that they had already installed GPS coordinates in the ambulances for easy tracking monitoring. He further stated that the NEMS would be operating for 24-hours and paramedics would also be working day and night to swiftly respond to emergencies.
Deputy Chief Medical Officer Clinical, Dr. Bash-Taqi, who made the closing remarks called citizens/community people and any other member of the public support the National Emergency Service and assist in the monitoring and protection of the Ambulances, as community watch is key for them to prevent any misuse/ abuse of the ambulances and further ensure sustainability of the NEMS to achieve their desired goal.