By Victor Ogunje
Four years after it lost six doctors and a driver in a ghastly auto crash, the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), Ekiti State chapter, has called for robust emergency services in the country to avert untimely deaths.
The medical association bemoaned that poor emergency services on accident-prone highways and other areas was responsible for the avoidable deaths of many Nigerians, especially those who fell victim of contingency cases.
The doctors and their driver died on April 24, 2016 along the Abuja-Kaduna highway while travelling to Sokoto to attend the association’s annual delegates’ meeting and scientific conference.
The victims were: Dr. Tunde Aladesanmi, Dr O. J. Taiwo, Dr Alex Akinyele, Dr J. B. Ogunseye, Dr Olayiwola Olajide, Dr Atolani Adeniyi and their driver, Mr A. Ajibola.
The NMA state Chairman, Dr. Tunji Omotayo, in his tribute to the deceased on Friday, said it was painful and agonising for them to have lost six professionals and their driver in one swell swoop in a country that has acute dearth of medical personnel.
The NMA chief said the doctors would have been saved from the throes of abrupt death if the Nigerian medical sector had enjoyed strong ambulance emergency services to rush them to the hospital for prompt medicare.
“The day broke like any other but before the night was over, tragedy struck the Ekiti NMA, we were robbed of seven souls; six doctors and our driver. Thirteen of our members; leaders and ambassadors of our association.
“They were to represent the state at the 2016 annual delegates’ meeting and scientific conference of the NMA at the seat of the Caliphate in Sokoto.
“The voyage to the National capital was uneventful. Poses were taken at the Zuma Rock enroute Kaduna. Along the notorious Abuja-Kaduna Expressway, tragedy struck. The rear tyre burst, the bus tumbled severally; some died on the spot and some were seriously wounded.
“Rumours began to fester; various versions of the sad news were flying in the social media. At dusk, the unfortunate story was confirmed. Six of our colleagues and the driver had paid the ultimate price for years of neglect of our health sector.
“This is a country where communication network was a luxury, highway ambulance service was non-existent. Provision was never made for emergency medical services in a country where greater than 98 per cent of its population travel by road.
“With these deaths, the country has failed us and our departed colleagues.
“Today we remember them and they remain evergreen in our hearts. Four years have passed, but we still endure the pain and agony just like it was yesterday,” Omotayo said.