Lagos moves to reform emergency healthcare response

In a move to reform and vitalise the response approach of healthcare services in emergency situatioins the Lagos State Ministry of Health has constituted an Emergency Healthcare Services Strategy Workshop to address the critical issues facing emergency healthcare services in the state.

The forum gathered key stakeholders on Thursday and Friday from the emergency and trauma care ecosystem including, providers of emergency and trauma care, health managers, key policymakers, and funders, to critically evaluate the current challenges within the Emergency Healthcare Service framework in the state.

Speaking on the aims of the discourse, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Health, Dr. (Mrs.) Kemi Ogunyemi explained that the intention was to evaluate the current approach to providing emergency care from scene to centre.

According to her, the goal “is to support the design of a roadmap that addresses the existing gaps and projects future advancements in the Emergency Healthcare Service landscape of Lagos State.”

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Ogunyemi highlighted the significance of emergency healthcare services as the backbone of the state’s healthcare infrastructure.

Recalling her personal experience with emergency services in Nigeria and contrasting it with the seamless process in the UK, she emphasised the urgent need for a robust emergency system in Lagos.

“We need to ensure that emergency care is accessible to all, regardless of location or socio-economic status,” Ogunyemi stated.

She stressed the importance of preparedness, adequate resources, and leveraging technology to enhance emergency care.

She stated that collaboration between healthcare providers, emergency services, and community organisations is crucial for creating a resilient emergency healthcare system.

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“It can be a difference between life and death. This also underscores the critical nature of timely and efficient emergency responses”, she added.

Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Health, Dr. Olusegun Ogboye acknowledged the significant work done in preventive care but pointed out the gaps in emergency care.

He discussed the challenges, such as the lack of trained personnel, inadequate resources, and the absence of a coordinated system for emergency responses.

“We need to focus on what an emergency really is and how it should be effectively managed”, he emphasised.

Key focus areas of the two-day workshop included the evaluation of trauma care, examining the current state of ambulance services, addressing logistics issues in patient transfers, and improving integrated care systems.

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Additionally, sustainable financing models, quality of care, governance, and the use of technology will be discussed to enhance emergency healthcare services in the state.

The workshop aimed to produce a comprehensive situational analysis, a working document for an end-to-end pathway for emergency care, and establish working groups to implement the recommendations over the next year. The outcomes will be presented at the upcoming Lagos Trauma Care Conference for further discussion and validation.

Ogunyemi urged all stakeholders to work together to advance emergency healthcare services in Lagos.

“Let us ensure that every individual receives the care they need in their moment of need”, she said while highlighting the collective responsibility to build a more integrated and responsive emergency healthcare system.

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