By Becky John
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) on Friday introduced the first Air Ambulance at the National Hospital, Abuja, for emergency health care. The launch that took place at the Trauma Center of the hospital is for easy transportation of patients with emergency cases by air.
The Director, Research and Rescue of the agency, Mr Ibrahim Mamman, said the project was part of the transformation agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan.
“The air ambulance can be used to transport patients with critical and traumatic health situation from anywhere the individual is.
“As a matter of fact, the jet can go anywhere in the world; it has the range of 3000 miles.
“It can go to as far as Europe, Asia, nonstop and it is also available here in Abuja but it all depends on the location where the patient calls from.
“We can go anywhere and pick you; if you want us to bring you to National Hospital, we can,” Mamman said.
He also said that the project was a demonstration of the beginning of air ambulance in Nigeria.
The director said that there were plans to expand the project to make other air ambulances available to all parts of the country.
He said the air jets were still new and could last for a period before they wore out. Mamman commended the Director-General of NEMA, Alhaji Sani Sidi, for championing “such a capital intensive project’’. The Chief Medical Director (CMD) of the hospital, Dr Gaff Momoh, recalled that the trauma center of the hospital was commissioned with the sole aim of managing emergencies. Momoh said that the air ambulance was for easy evacuation of patients from any part of the country.
“The jet is to move patients from wherever they are in the country and still land at the appropriate time within a very short notice.
“It is always best for the patient when he is treated at the adequate time in cases of trauma or natural disaster.
The CMD noted that the hospital had always had patients brought by road but that the jets would facilitate the transportation of patients by air. He said the hospital was equipped with facilities to take the patients to the right wards where they could be treated.
Mr Keith Trower, the Director Aeromedevac Consulting Services, Ireland, said the company had developed specific air medical transport system to help medical challenges globally. Trower said the company was training NEMA staff for the period of nine months to enable them get conversant with the use of the air ambulance. He lauded the government and NEMA for prioritizing health-related issues in the country.