AN international NGO, International Rescue Committee (IRC), has donated four ambulances for conveying referral cases from primary healthcare centres in rural areas of Borno to general hospitals.
The donation was part of EU support grant to Response, Recovery and Resilience programme in Borno being implemented by IRC.
Presenting the ambulances on Monday in Maiduguri, the Country Director of IRC, Mr Babatunde Anthony, said the ambulances were meant for Mafa, Magumeri, Gwoza and Konduga Local Government Areas.
“A key component of this grant is the strengthening of the referral system from primary healthcare facilities to secondary and tertiary facilities for the care of critical medical cases and obstetric emergencies.
“In order to achieve this, an efficient referral system must have a functional ambulance to convey the sick to the nearest hospital for better care,’’ Anthony said.
He noted that stakeholders had identified the non-availability of ambulances for referral of critical patients as a critical gap prompting the intervention.
Anthony said that IRC had supported the referral of 331 patients made up of 252 females and 79 males from various local government areas to the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital in the past eight months.
“As this grant is ending this month, the procurement of the ambulances for the four supported local government areas is part of the sustainability plan put in place to strengthen the referral system in the state and to help save the lives of critically ill patients,’’ Anthony said.
Receiving the vehicles on behalf of Borno government, Commissioner for Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Resettlement, Engr. Mustafa Gubio, lauded the intervention which he said would go a long way in complimenting government’s efforts in the health sector.
Gubio assured of maximum utilisation of the ambulances for the purpose intended.
Also speaking, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Mr Muhammed Ghuluze, lauded the sustained contribution of IRC and the EU to the health sector.
He added that the ministry would take responsibility of maintenance and training of the ambulance drivers as agreed in the Memorandum of Understanding. (NAN)