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Bayelsa Boosts Riverine Healthcare with Six Ambulance Boats donated by UNICEF

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UNICEF has handed over six ambulance boats to the Bayelsa State Government to improve healthcare and emergency response services in riverine communities living in far flung areas. 

The ambulance boats, funded by Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), are equipped with medical amenities, and staffed with healthcare personnel trained to provide swift and effective emergency medical assistance, transport patients including pregnant women in labour and newborns to medical facilities and facilitate immunization outreach programmes.

A statement from UNICEF disclosed that with nearly 100 out of every 1000 children not surviving to see their fifth birthday, infant mortality at 70 per 1000 births, 32 per cent of pregnant women not receiving antenatal care and only about 40 per cent babies delivered in health facilities in Bayelsa State, the ambulance boats are timely to improve survival rates for women and children.

UNICEF Nigeria Country Representative,Ms. Cristian Munduate in the statement saidh the provision of these ambulance boats represents a critical step towards ensuring that even the most remote communities have access to lifesaving healthcare services.  “These boats will not only serve as a means of transportation for patients but also function as platforms for delivering essential healthcare interventions, such as immunizations, antenatal care, and health education, directly to those in need”.She said.

Deputy Governor, Bayelsa State.Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo said the state was deeply grateful for the donation of these six ambulance boats, which bring hope to it’s riverine communities. “This initiative is an important step in our ongoing efforts to safeguard the lives of our mothers, children, and vulnerable populations across Bayelsa. These boats will not only ensure timely medical interventions but also fortify our resolve to provide equitable healthcare services, irrespective of geographical barriers. Together, we are navigating towards a brighter, healthier future for every citizen of Bayelsa State.” he said.

This initiative builds on the priorities of the Federal Ministry of Health as expressed in the Nigeria Health Renewal Investment Initiative, to make the health system more equitable and efficient, reduce the number of children who have not received any vaccine, and improve immunization coverage.

The delivery of the ambulance boats makes up part of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in 2022 between the Bayelsa State Government, the Federal Ministry of Health, the Nigeria Governors Forum, GAVI, and UNICEF to improve routine immunization and primary healthcare systems and reduce loss of life, particularly among women and children.

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