The GivingTide International, an NGO, on Thursday inaugurated free ambulances to help in saving lives of Nigerians in case of health emergencies.
Mr Olu Falomo, Chairman, Committee Encouraging Cooperate Philanthropy, made the disclosure at a news conference in Lagos to inaugurate “Stable Health Initiative and Ambulance Without Borders”.
The conference was organised by the NGO in commemoration of the 2022 World Health Day with the theme: “Our Planet, Our Health”.
Falomo said that many Nigerians had lost their lives to health emergency situations due to lack of care facilities.
He said that the ambulance was introduced to reduce death toll due to health emergencies and that greater percentage of the population still lived in poverty and could not afford the cost of few available emergency ambulances.
“The budget allocation to health is very low and far below expectation. The country has not paid much attention to the sector which is why basic health facilities and structures have not been made available.
“The few available ones are too expensive and might not be affordable by some people in the society; as a result, not everyone has access to quality healthcare in the country.
“The focus is to reduce the rate of deaths due to emergency situations as a result of non-availability of ambulances to convey victims to hospitals for onward medical attention,” Falomo said.
The Executive Secretary of GivingTide International, Dr Abia Nzelu, said that the 2022 World Health Day was aimed at paying attention to well-being and a sustainable habitable environment.
Nzelu stressed the need to take care of the environment because it affected lives.
According to her, every day about 200 Nigerians die, and this would have been prevented if the right structures and emergency health facilities are put in place.
She said that the initiative would focus on preventive and emergency measures; while the preventive aspect offered free health screening, the emergency measure handled the emergencies.
The executive secretary further said that the usage and registration of the ambulance were free and open to everyone, adding that people could register at www.ambulancewithoutborders.org.
“The registration gives access to free health screening. The objective is to address emergencies caused by the COVID-19 Pandemic so that Nigerians will not continue to lose lives.
“If an emergency occurs, the person will quickly make use of the ambulance and save a life instead of running helter-skelter.
“Being a registered patient, all you need do is to quickly place a call and the ambulance comes to pick you up to the hospital,’’ he said.
Nzelu added that the ambulance would be integrated into the healthcare system and be registered with hospitals across the country.
Also, the Project Coordinator, Dr Kin Egwuchim, said that creating awareness was important to the success of the ambulance initiative.
Eguchi said that when people are well informed about the project, they could register and get involved, thereby enhancing its impact on society.
He, therefore, called on the media to upscale the dissemination of the initiative so that many people would be informed.
According to him, the target is to have at least one ambulance for every 100,000 people, and Lagos State alone will need about 200 ambulances.
He called on governments, organisations, religious bodies, philanthropists and well-meaning Nigerians to support the project.
He noted that the programme would be kick-started in Lagos State and later move to other parts of the country, adding that many would key into the programme as they see the impact.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that World Health Day is celebrated annually on April 7, to honour the founding of the World Health Organisation in 1948.