13 new Ambulances would shortly be deployed in Western Area for timely response to health emergencies. This information was revealed by officials of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation during the official launching ceremony of the much anticipated National Emergency Medical Service, popularly known as NEMS for Western Area, at the Miatta Conference Hall in Freetown, on Tuesday 27th November 2018.
Speaking about the purpose of the event, Acting Chief Medical Officer in the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Dr. Amara Jambai, noted that the National Emergency Medical Service started in 2016 and that they have been working hard to make it operational.
The National Emergency Medical Service is FREE of cost for health emergencies within the Free Health Care Initiative/package. Paramedics and Ambulance Drivers have been trained to ensure quality service delivery
Dr. Amara Jambai, Acting Chief Medical Officer, Ministry of Health and Sanitation
He said he knows there are going to be some challenges but appealed to the new Paramedics and Ambulance Drivers to approach their work with a sense of empathy and professionalism, as their job 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 be performing their duties well if they lose lives in the process of saving lives.
He expressed hope that Government and their other partners, Doctors with Africa/CUAMM, 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, to continue to support the NEMS after the end of the initial two-year contract with them.
Speaking on behalf of the World Bank Team, Senior Health Specialist, Shiyong Wang, said that they were pleased to see NEMS become a reality and stressed that it is a win-win situation on the part of the Government, Donor Partners, target beneficiaries, and Human Resource Development and Job Creation, as there are a number of youth within the programme that are now being capacitated to contribute to national development.
In his statement, the Chief Executive Officer of Doctors with Africa, Paolo Rossi, said 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 they have been contracted for 2 years to ensure proper management of the NEMS. He also revealed that they have already installed GPS coordinates in the ambulances for easy tracking and monitoring, adding that the NEMS would be operating on a 24-hour basis and all the paramedics would be working day and night to swiftly respond to emergencies.
Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Clinical, Dr. Bash-Taqi, called on members of the public to support the National Emergency Service and assist in the monitoring and protection of the Ambulances, as community watch is key if they should prevent any misuse or abuse of the ambulances.