FMOH preparedness for the planned temporary closure of the Airport

The Federal Government of Nigeria has mapped out strategies to ensure commuters’ safety on the Abuja-Kaduna highway corridor as the government planned to close the Abuja Airport for six weeks to carry out maintenance work.

This development was sequel to the recent announcement by the Federal Government to close the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja on the 8th of March for repair of the runway and to transfer its operations to Kaduna Airport.

The Minister of State for Health, Dr.Osagie Ehanire disclosed this on Wednesday 22 February,2017 in Abuja at a press briefing to inform the public of the Federal Ministry of Health’s preparedness for the planned temporary closure of the Airport.

He explained that the Trauma and Emergency Response Division of the Federal Ministry of Health had already built a consolidated emergency response plan for Nigerian highways over the past one year. He added that the rising death tolls on the roads underscored the need to coordinate all actors and assets to optimise response to road traffic accidents and other emergencies.

He further stressed that the imminent airport closure gave the impetus to realise this plan and an opportunity to test and develop it for replication nationwide.

Dr.Ehanire said: ‘’Measures to ensure prompt and efficient response to emergencies are pertinent, a road user can find himself a victim when other protective, defensive and safety measures fail; these can be private citizens, members of the business community, government officials and diplomats.

To this end, he said that the Federal Ministry of Health was therefore taking special care to upgrade emergency response and health care services to sustainable, modern standards to support the effort of the Ministry of Aviation.

He added that the plans were developed in collaboration with partners and stakeholders through an adhoc Technical Working Group that had been planning the details and conducting training activities.

He said that the Ministry was working in collaboration with Commissioners of Health of Kaduna and Niger States adding that six strategically located health centres at intervals along the Abuja-Kaduna highway had been assessed and identified as Primary Response Centres to include Anglican Mission Hospital Katari, General Hospital Doka, FRSC Clinic Kakau, Primary Healthcare Centre Dutse, Rigasa

Health Centre and St.Gerard’s Hospital Kaduna.

The Minister further said that the Primary Response Centres had been contacted to be linked with Trauma Centres of four referral hospitals; in Abuja, National Hospital and Abuja University Hospital (UATH) Gwagwalada, and in Kaduna, the 44 Army Referral Hospital and Nigeria Air force(NAF) Base Medical Centre.

Some component s of the exercise includes facility upgrade of the identified hospitals along the corridor and erection of legible, reflective signboards every 10km along the highway, to display the following 3 things to commuters.

· The emergency call numbers, 112 and 122

· The exact site of the signboard so that victims can give their location to emergency responders, for example: KM60 Abuja-Kaduna side or KM30 Kaduna-Abuja and

· directions to the nearest health facility so that ‘good Samaritans’ know where to take victims.

Boade Akinola (Mrs.)

Director Media and Public Relations

FMOH