The Lagos State Ministry of Health says it has acquired a ‘Floating Clinic Boat’ to be used in attending to inland waterways’ medical emergencies.
The ministry further added that the floating clinic boat will also be useful in the medical outreach for communities who live along the river.
The ministry disclosed this in a press statement issued on Wednesday and signed by the Director of Public Affairs, Mr. Tunbosun Ogunbanwo.
The procurement of the clinic boat, the ministry said, is to increase the access of Lagos residents to quick, qualitative, and effective health care services on waterways and riverine communities across the state.
The boat clinic is said to be furnished with four medical observation beds, a medium sterilisation unit, an o2 bottle, a gauge, an infusion stand, a foldable stretcher, and a fully equipped first aid box.
According to the ministry, “The Floating Clinic Boat is a brainchild of the Lagos State Ministry of Health and the Lagos State Waterways Authority.
“The clinic boat is compartmentalised into four sections including; the Wheel house (for captain and crew), observation room (for patients), doctor’s office, and nurse’s station, and reception has marine safety equipment including life jackets, fire bucket, life buoy, life rat fire extinguisher, and navigational lights, as well as navigational equipment like garmin ecomap, compass, VHF radio accessories, and siren.”
The Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Health, Dr Olusegun Ogboye, who spoke at the launch and inspection of the floating clinic boat, stated that the main aim of the clinic boat is to assist in providing emergency first aid and basic healthcare services to areas only accessible by water.
Ogboye said, “The Floating Clinic is mainly to deal with emergencies on the waterways and provide outreach services to riverine communities. This is part of the initiative by the Ministry of Health to ensure that we extend our medical and ambulance service to the waterways, remote riverine communities, and areas that can only be accessed by water.
“This is also an example of partnership between different agencies of The boat actually belongs to LASWA but will be operated by the Ministry of Health,” he said.
Ogboye further revealed that the clinic boat will be used for the current measles and COVID vaccination campaign in riverine communities and water ways across Lagos State.
According to him, this is part of a plan instigated by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to make sure the response time of emergency health services in Lagos is reduced.
The Permanent Secretary said, “This is a strong partnership between LASWA and the Ministry of Health. LASWA has provided the boat, the crew, and gas to run the boat and the Ministry of Health will provide the human resources and medical consumables for health care provision. It is part of a plan that has is initiated by Mr. Governor to ensure that emergency services in Lagos are ramped up and we can respond very quickly to emergencies.
“This is the beginning of the initiative. There is definitely an intention to expand, scale-up and integrate our ambulance services; our ambulance boats, mobile intensive care units, and transport ambulances.
“It is something that we have planned that is certainly why we are starting with one boat and we are going to expand. It is a sustainable idea, we already run ambulance services, we are only expanding to include the waterways and we have the human resources to run it,” he said.
Ogboye noted that at least two medical workers will be present on the clinic boat running shifts.
“Once you contact the emergency numbers the clinic will be deployed, LASWA can also deploy the clinic during an emergency response on the waterways. If there is a call about an emergency on the waterways, remote and riverine areas, the emergency process will be activated,” he added saying.
Also speaking at the launch, the General Manager, LASWA, Mr. Damilola Emmanuel, said, “As you know, for us at LASWA, we have been gradually building emergency and rescue efforts and gradually seeing how the safety on the waterways keeps improving year after year.
“This is just another initiative to further add to the integrated emergency and rescue system because what we are going to do is to have our own core emergency and response boat in our jetties along with the soon-to-be-launched control room.
“If you noticed, I used the word integrated because apart from the floating clinic which will be attending to emergencies, we are going to have the core emergency team which will be made up of divers, boat captain, and medics on the core rescue boat which LASWA will provide,” Emmanuel said.
The Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Health, Dr. Oreoluwa Finnih, explained saying, “One of the core tasks of the Floating Clinic boat is medical outreach services to riverine communities to provide primary health care services including immunization, disease prevention, and health promotion services to citizens.
“Most people have the impression that Lagos is a completely urban city, but for us, we realise that Lagos has a lot of communities along the waterways which are not necessarily connected to the city. Mr. Governor recognising this directed that medical services be taken to these areas as part of the mandate to achieve universal health coverage. When this initiative was brought to his attention, this was one of the factors that led to the quick acquisition of the boat to bridge the identified gap in health access,” she said.
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