By Gabriel Olawale
The Chairperson of the Trauma Care International Foundation, TCIF, Dr. Deola Philips has raised alarm over recurrent cases of road accidents which in most cases leave the victims with injuries or death.
Speaking in Lagos during the 2019 Trauma Conference tagged; Trauma Care: The Way Forward, Philips said annually, Nigeria records over 4 million injuries and more than 200,000 deaths are as a result of road crashes, a major cause of traumatic injuries in the environment.
She said the conference was put together by the TCIF as a solution-based convention to emphasise the possibility of an absolutely adequate system for trauma care and emergency response in Nigeria and West Africa.
“It is to generate answers innovatively which can be tailored to every level in the health care system, accelerate support for the existing health care structures in a robust, comprehensive and enduring fashion, fast-track education and advocacy for these in a sustainable manner and reawaken in health care providers, the essence of being a stakeholder in Trauma Care and Emergency Response which remains saving lives every day.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, Senator Ibrahim Oloriegbe, who was represented by Mr Mike Egboh, the Country Director, USAID GHSC-PSM, noted that appropriate and timely care given early could significantly improve outcome from trauma care.
“Majority of highways in Nigeria are without plans for emergency rescue operations either by state or non-state actors. Moreover, when such emergencies happen and evacuation takes place through the help of individuals close to the scene of the accident or the emergency situation, the bureaucracy at most hospitals and health institutions may pose an obstacle to saving endangered lives.”
Egboh, however, disclosed that the National Health Act (2014) was enacted by the 8th National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on the 31st of October, 2014, and Section 20 (1) of the Act provides that a health care provider, health worker or health establishment shall not refuse a person emergency medical treatment for any reason.
He further said anyone who contravened this section committed an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of N100,000.00 or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months or to both.
Minister of Health, Dr Osaghie E. Ehanire, who was represented by the Medical Director of the National Orthopaedic Hospital, Igbobi, Lagos, Dr Mustapha Alimi highlighted the scourge of trauma in Nigeria, saying the huge cost of mainly out-of-pocket treatment of victims left many a family bankrupt, hugely indebted and often destitute.
The Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi who highlighted government actions on trauma care in Lagos State said that the state of public transit drivers needed to be managed.
“We are now experiencing a very high number of cases ascribed to trauma either due to road traffic accidents or physical violence and we are now gearing up to do something about mental health because megacities are known to be risk factors associated with increased mental health distress that we feel under the pressure of living in a crowded buzzing environment where nobody seems to care for anybody else and of course, mental health can’t be responsible for physical violence.
“Lagos has taken the bull by the horn according to the Health Act and the issue around the subject of what we do with trauma cases as they present to our health facilities or what we do to trauma cases at the scene, our major issues of concern. As doctors, we are supposed to render help at all times irrespective of the individual.”