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Lagos Ambulance Points Wear New Look

Five Lagos ambulance points located at Lagos Tollgate end of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway; Mile 12 in Kosofe LGA, Third Mainland Bridge; Anthony along Oshodi-Oke Expressway and Mobil along Lekki-Epe Expressway in Eti-Osa LGA, now wear a new look courtesy of the Saving One Million Lives Program for Result (SOMLPforR); a Federal Government initiative to strengthen health service delivery.

The ambulance points, which were vandalized in the aftermath of the civil unrest of October 2020, were refurbished by the SOMLPforR to improve the quality of service delivery in emergency response and provide a work-friendly environment for emergency responders.

Speaking on Tuesday at the official commissioning and handing over of one of the newly refurbished points located at the Lagos Tollgate of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Health, Dr. Olusegun Ogboye explained that the old dilapidated and vandalized ambulance points were replaced with new prefabricated and transferable architecture consisting of an ambulance hanger and a workstation or office space for ambulance crew.

He explained further that the construction of ambulance points in strategic areas of Lagos was first mooted in 2001 during the administration of the then Governor of Lagos State and now the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu to reduce the response time of first responders to accident scenes, especially accident-prone areas.

Ogboye however noted that ambulance infrastructure and crew at the ambulance points have been targets of hostilities in host communities and civil unrest, with the latest being the civil unrest of October 2020, which resulted in the destruction of the ambulance points infrastructure.

He said: “Our current President, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR, through his vision started the Lagos State Ambulance Service (LASAMBUS) in the year 2001 and also built ambulance points in strategic locations so that it would reduce the time to get ambulances to respond to calls. It was a very good vision at that time and it really worked, but unfortunately, a lot of ugly incidents have been reported at some of these points against our ambulance crews”.

Ogboye disclosed that the other ideas geared towards protecting the ambulance infrastructure and crew are currently being worked on by the Governor Sanwo-Olu-led administration in Lagos State, stressing that the State Government has plans to station ambulance points in all local government secretariats where ambulances can be deployed at any time of the day.

“So what we tried to do was to look at putting up ambulance points in local governments to protect the crew from people that tend to attack them on the roads, but that is still being worked out, but it is something that is being planned that every local government would have an ambulance point that will have a full compliment of ambulance crew ready to deploy at any time.

“But in the interim, ensuring that our ambulance crews have a place to stay on the roads, a place that is much more comfortable than what they had before, where they can deploy became of utmost priority, prompting moot the idea of overhauling the existing ambulance points.

“So one of the things we did was to approach SOMLPforR to ask for their support and to see what they can do for us, and to be honest, SOMLPforR coordinated by Dr. Mazeedat Erinosho has been extremely accommodating and very helpful with this project, and because of that now we have five of these newly refurbished ambulance points”, the Permanent Secretary explained.

While appreciating the Coordinator of SOMLPforR in Lagos State, and her team for acceding to the request of the Ministry of Health for a total overhaul of the ambulance points, Ogboye noted that because of the kind gesture of SOMLPforR, the LASAMBUS crew can now boast of ambulance points where they can be stationed comfortably and dispatched quickly for emergency response.

The Permanent Secretary, also appreciated the Governor of Lagos State,  Babajide Sanwo-Olu for his unflinching support to the operation of LASAMBUS, noting that the Lagos State Ambulance Service can now boast of an ultra-modern ambulance fleet consisting of mobile intensive care unit (MICU) ambulances, transport ambulances, efficient communication system and trained and motivated staff.

“Mr. Governor has graciously given approval for the overhaul of LASAMBUS infrastructures. We have just bought 10 new ambulances, and we have overhauled our communication system completely, and we have some development partners working with us now to help us improve on our data and record-keeping system so that we can process data more quickly and get more accurate data on the work that LASAMBUS is doing”, He said.

While appealing to the management and staff of the Lagos Ambulance Service to take good care of the refurbished facilities and put it to good use, Ogboye thanked them for their service to humanity and promised to continue to look into their welfare and capacity building for effective service delivery.

“I want to acknowledge the gentlemen and ladies in blue, our first responders, led by their Director, Mrs. Makinde. I know your work hasn’t been easy, but we are going to make it a bit more comfortable as you do it, and I would like you to focus on each life that you are able to save because you can get to an accident or trauma incident as quickly as possible in a metropolis like Lagos”, He said.

Earlier, the Coordinator, SOMLPforR, Dr. Mazeedat Erinosho explained that SOMLPforR is a Federal Government initiative aimed at strengthening Maternal and Child Health Indices across the 36 states of the Federation using a set of Disbursement Linked Indicators (DLIs) among which is improving quality of service delivery.

She said: “The program supported five LASAMBUS points with pre-fabricated ambulance points replacing the dilapidated ones destroyed by civil unrest. These pre-fabricated ambulance points have a comfortable workstation providing a work-friendly environment, thereby enhancing the productivity of the first responders to emergencies, which will, in addition, improve their response time to emergencies”.

Also speaking, the CEO of Healthrange Equipment Solutions,  Sulaiman Hammeed, the contractor who supervised the project, explained that prefabricated ambulance points have a lifespan of 20 years and are transferable in the event of expansion or relocation.

He noted that the ambulance points have office space with a rechargeable fan, workstation table, filing cabinet, and chairs that can house the LASAMBUS crew apart from the ambulance hanger that serves as a holding bay and shelter for the ambulance prior to deployment.

Also present at the event were the Director, LASAMBUS,  Wuraola Makinde; Medical Director, Lagos Tollgate Accident and Emergency Centre, Dr. Adeolu Arogundade, as well as LASAMBUS and SOMLPforR staff.

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