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USAID, IHP  partners to re-activate Emergency Transport Scheme in Ebonyi State

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United States Agency For International Development (USAID) -Integrated Health Programme (IHP) has held a 2-Day Workshop for Officials of Ebonyi  State Ministry of Health, Primary Health Care Development Agency, members of National Union of Road  Transport Workers (NURTW), Official of State Ministry of Health, Drivers, Keke/Okada Riders, on the Establishment of sustainable  State Emergency Transport Service (EB-ETS) to reduce Maternal Mortality and Morbidity in the State …Correspondent Clement Nnachi reports.

United States Agency For International Development (USAID),-Integrated Health Programme (IHP),  poised  to re-activate Emergency Transport Scheme in Ebonyi State,  held a Two-Day Workshop on sustainable emergency transport system  in Primary Health Care Facilities .

The Workshop drew participants from Ebonyi State Ministry of Health, State Primary Health Development Agency,  Religious Leaders, Traditional Rulers, Ministry of Women Affairs, Ward  Development Committees, Women Leaders, Integrated Health Programme Staff, State Secretary National Union of Road Transport Workers, Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters among others.

The USAID-IHP among other issues focused  on Strengthening  Health Systems, increasing Access, improving quality of Integrated  Primary Health care Services in Ebonyi State.

Other Donor Partners that partnered with IHP included Department For International Development (DFID), UNICEF, AMURT Group, Health Insurance, Officials of Ebonyi State Ministry of Health, Local Government Health Authorities, Drivers, Keke Drivers and Tricyclists and Motorcyclists among others.

The essence of the workshop was the re-activation of Emergency Transport Scheme (ETS) in Ebonyi State inaddition to attaining sustainable ETS in the State inorder to reduce Maternal Mortality  and Morbidity.

The objectives of the Workshop included the Sharing of key findings/Learnings from the past ETS interventions implemented in the State, Development  of strategic plan for the re-activation and Scale up of ETS Programme in the State.

Experts and Resource Persons in a Resolution at the end of a Two-Day Stakeholders Technical Consultation on Referrel and Emergency Transport Scheme  emphasized that that the revival of the scheme would reduce Maternal Mortality and Morbidity in the State.


The Emergency Transport Scheme (ETS) described as an Ambulance, paramedic or Medically Transport Service,  carried out mostly during emergencies to provide urgent pre-hospital treatment and stabilization for serious illness, injuries and care.

USAID-IHP hired an Expert Consultant on Emergency Transport Scheme who carried out a Desk Review, analysed different ETS approaches that have been implemented in Ebonyi State in the last 5-10 years, its strengths, weaknesses, and Learning.

In a Lecture titled “Models of Emergency Transport Scheme (ETS), the National Lead Consultant Jeff Turner International Technical Advisor Mr Ismaila Balogun, analyzed different ETS approaches that have been implemented in Ebonyi State in the last 5-10 years, its strengths, weaknesses and Learning .


The Lead Consultant noted that the Integrated Health Programme (IHP) and the

Ebonyi State Ministry of Health agreed that it was time to look at all the Models

ETS and come up with a Comprehensive harmonization .

Mr Balogun identified Four ETS Models implemented in some States in Nigeria to include Model ETS 1 and 2, Model Ambulance Services, Community Transport Volunteers and Piloting Payment Models for Emergency Transport Schemes.


” ETS Model 1 started in Nigeria in 2005, it is the most popular Model in Nigeria, it started with Formative Research / Situation Analysis,  implementation of this Model starts with selection of Communities ,NURTW Offices,  Data Collection, Midline Evaluation and Project Monitoring and Evaluation”


“NURTW were recruited as Volunteers , with an agreement to use their vehicles to transport pregnant women in Labour to Health Facility without money”


“ETS 2 Models identified Motor Parks, targets Market Days where there would be assemblage. of vehicles,  gather the Drivers, sensitize them on the need to be volunteers”

“this strategy will be used by the Integrated Health Programme (IHP) to address the delay in reaching care due to poor transportation /infrastructure, Distance to Health Centers and availability/Cost of Transport Service .


According to Mr Balogun, ” the 2nd Model involves NURTW Drivers in collaboration with Multi-Purpose Ambulance vehicles equipped with all basic medical and medical personnel”


Mr Balogun reiterated that the 3rd Model tagged “Engagement of Community Transport Volunteers (CTV), aims to boost the presence of Volunteer Drivers in

Communities transport Women to Health Facilities.


“The 4th Model named Piloting Payment Models for Emergency Transport Schemes was funded by Mac Arthur Foundation to pilot payment incentive methods for the ETS 2011-14”


Mr Balogun identified the challenges confronting the full implementation. of this Models to include Inadequate Tricycles Ambulances, Inadequate Human Resources, poor access to Universal Health Care, poor sustainability of Health interventions and leveraging on Partners Support for Health Programme.


“As a way forward, Government should recruit more  Health Workers, ensure Budget Lines for Emergency Transport Scheme in State Ministry of Health and Continuous Sensitization of Community Stakeholders  .


Earlier in an opening remarks, the Ebonyi State Director Integrated Health Programme

(IHP) Dr (Mrs) Gladys Olisaeke, said that the Workshop was organized among other things to Share Findings of the best review of the different types of Emergency Transport Schemes that were implemented in the State in the last Five years.


“To review what had happened, what went well, what could be improved upon, together

with Stakeholders and find the best way forward to revive it”


“We want such a way we are going to support Ebonyi State Government , next time we will continue to a reasonable extent after the project ends”


Dr Olisaeke said that workshop aims to connect Expectant Mothers to the Drivers in their Local Communities who were  already trained and once there are pregnant women in labour, the person needs to get to the facility as soon as possible.


The IHP boss reiterated that the State Government has been supportive to the Programme stating after the first time it was introduced in a formal way under the Maternal and Child Survival Programme (MCSP), government trained more Drivers and handed over to use the Tricycles that were purchased by the State Government .


In a lecture titled “Overview of Emergency Transport Scheme in Ebonyi State, the

State Cordinator Safe Motherhood Initiative Mrs Mary Jane Nwobodo, said that the

ETS uses an established Private System like Taxi or NURTW to help expectant mothers experiencing complication .


She outlined Contributory factors of Maternal Mortality to include Delays in Decision Making caused by Religious beliefs, Economic Status, Ignorance of Reproductive Rights of Women, delay in receiving care, poor attitude of health workers and harmful traditional practices.

Remarkable achievement of the Workshop was the recommendation to Ebonyi State Government to adopt a combination ETS 1 and 2 Module in addition to Ambulance Model Services to link Rural Communities with Health Services.

Besides, Stakeholders and Participants developed a Strategic Plan for the re-activation and Scale -up Emergency Transport Scheme in Ebonyi State.


Participants were unanimous in their resolution that some of the deaths recorded in the rural communities occured during conveying expectants mothers experiencing maternal complications to Health Facilities .

The Workshop reviewed the current situation of the Emergency Transport Scheme in Ebonyi State , explored practical options which build on the previous work of implementing Partners to establish a Functional and Effective Transport System.

The Workshop developed an Agreed Sustainable ETS for Ebonyi State and engaged all Stakeholders to finalize a Road map for the re-activation and Scale up of ETS in the State.

Besides the Workshop explored Models that strengthened and expanded  the existing Emergency Transport Schemes and documented the lessons learned

Participants agreed that State Government should provide Incentives for Volunteer, provision of Refresher Training, provision of Information Communication (IECs)  and capacity.


It would be noted that the Integrated Health Programme (IHP), has among other objectives to strengthen the Health System, improve health care  and ensure quality healthcare for mothers .


To achieve this the Integrated Health Programme collaborates with Donor Partners Department  For International Development (DFID), World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, Society for Obstetrics and Gynaecology (SOGON), National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Primary Healthcare Agency, National Obstetrics and Fistula Center (NOFIC) who contributes immensely in saving the Lives of women and children.

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