Emergency transport in Nigeria

Transaid’s project manager, Silvia Poggioli, spoke about the challenges of replicating emergency transport schemes across Nigeria during an event in Abuja. Silvia’s presentation was part of Accelerating the attainment of Universal Health Coverage through community based Emergency Transport Schemes (ETS) in Nigeria, an event organised by Health Partners International (HPI) with support from the MacArthur Foundation.

Emergency Transport Schemes in Nigeria aim to provide affordable, accessible, safe, and timely means of transport for pregnant women during labour or obstetric emergencies by taking them to the nearest health facility using an existing, functioning and well-organised transport system as provided by the Nigerian National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW). ETS focuses on changing community’s attitudes towards accessing healthcare and advocates and positively encourages taxi drivers to be seen as ‘life savers’ within the rural villages.

Transaid’s presentation covered the challenges of replicating ETS across different States in Nigeria, the enabling factors needed to support the scale up, and the key factors for successful schemes, with focus on a current case study in Adamawa State in the North East of the country.

The Adamawa State ETS was launched in 2013 as part of a five year programme funded by Comic Relief.  The scheme aims at contributing to reduce maternal mortality in Nigeria, which, together with India, accounts for one third of global maternal deaths (Lancet, 2014) with a Maternal Mortality Ratio of 576 per 100,000 live births (NDHS, 2013).

The Adamawa State ETS was initially designed to cover the whole state however, due to the instability in the North East the scheme had to be scaled back from full saturation (21 Local Government Areas) to 16 LGAs. So far 640 drivers have been trained and between 2014 and 2015 drivers have transported 2,611 pregnant women with maternal complications or in labour to health facilities.

Transaid also participated in a second HPI event entitled Health Governance, Systems and Equity: Finding the right mix in Nigeria, which Silvia described as “an interesting, stimulating discussion about the structure and organisation of managing and delivering Primary Health Care in Nigeria. Both events were a great opportunity for HPI to celebrate 20 years of collaboration in Nigeria, and Transaid felt really proud to be involved in the event and in this collaboration over the past decade.

For more information, check out Silvia’s presentation here

Find more information on what happened at the event, and further action, here