By Chukwudi Nwauba
ANAMBRA State Government has inaugurated a 14-man State Emergency Treatment Medical Committee (SEMTC), to take care of pre-hospital and hospital based emergencies.
The event was held at the commissioner’s office at the Jerome Udoji Secretariat Complex, Awka.
Commissioner for Health, Dr Vincent Okpala, while inaugurating the committee said that SEMTC was in line with the National Health Act that was passed into law in 2014.
“It is truly a very important day for the state and the country because in 2014, the National Health Act was passed and in the Act, the underlying principles of Emergency Medical Services were captured.”
He explained that section 11 sub-section 3c of the National Health Act prescribes that five per cent of Basic Healthcare Provision Fund be used for medical emergencies.
“It as well prescribes that a committee be set up by the National Council on Health to help to administer the 5 per cent of the fund.
“In June 2018, the National Council on Health approved that the National Emergency Medical Treatment Committee (NEMTC), be established and in February 2019, that committee was established and that was a new dawn for Nigeria.
“After the establishment of
NEMTC, the next goal was to set up the SEMTC and one of the mandates of NEMTC is to set up a National Emergency Medical Ambulance Services and Medical Treatment System.
“SEMTC is to set up the State Emergency Medical and Ambulance System, it is very important because we are currently experiencing a lot of injuries and trauma in the society.
“There is a need to have a system that will take care of the fallout of these activities; it is wonderful now that we have a system like this that will help address these conditions,” he said.
“The commissioner noted that the committee would help in taking care of acute illnesses, injuries whether traumatic or non traumatic; the essence is to see if we can start approximating our medical system to that of the Western World.
“Among the goals of SEMTC is to help us to actualise this, get a coordinated response in the state pre-hospital emergency medical response.
“To get our ambulances; identify owners of ambulances that can actually be accredited to operate as emergency responders.
“Get facilities that can be accredited to function as emergency treatment, facilities categorised as level 1, 2 and 3 to collaborate with NEMTC to help to ensure that Ndi Anambra benefit from the scheme.
“It is very important that this happens and that is why we must thank Gov. Willie Obiano for setting up the infrastructure that will help us to accomplish the objectives of the committee.
“The governor helped us to be participants in the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund by making down payment that was necessary and as well made us get to this level.”
The commissioner said that the state Health Insurance Scheme was key to actualising the State Emergency Medical Services and Ambulance System that would help the committee to work effectively.
“The work of the SEMTC also includes creating linkages within the systems.
“The practice is that when hospitals or providers see patients in an emergency they are mandated to treat them regardless of patients’ ability to pay within the first 48 hours.
“Although it was not a funded mandate but SEMTC is a system that will help to actualise it because now it is a funded mandate.”
Dr Okpala urged them to be committed, to work within the confines of the 2014 National Health Act and as well help the state to build robust emergency medical services.
Chairman of the committee, Dr Obinna Mba, on behalf of the committee members assured that they would discharge their duties diligently at all times.