By Oluchi Chibuzor
Many citizens are dying daily on Nigerian roads due to their poor state and sometimes the recklessness of drivers. Some have also died or become permanently scarred due to lack of immediate medical assistance and financial resources for treatment.
In a bid to change the narrative, Sterling Bank Plc, earlier this year entered into a partnership with Health Emergency Initiative (HEI), a non-governmental organisation (NGO) that provides emergency medical assistance and care to indigent or vulnerable patients in public hospitals and communities and supports other health related initiatives for the good of humanity. This is as various government agencies such as Lagos State Traffic Management Agency (LASTMA); Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Lagos State Ambulance Services (LASAMBUS) are providing technical support
Under the partnership, Sterling Bank has provided training to address public apathy in pre-hospital emergency care, stimulate public interest, close identified skills gaps as well as assist indigent patients in public hospitals with access to emergency treatment that makes the difference between life and near-certain death.
According to the Group Head, Health Finance with Sterling Bank, Ibironke Akinmade, the bank decided to partner with HEI as part of its commitment to innovation in the health sector. She explained that the bank is focusing investments on five sectors of the economy, including health, education, agriculture, renewable energy and transportation (HEART), in a bid to make impact, adding that Sterling Bank believes strongly in responsible business practices.
Akinmade said the bank collaborated with HEI to train volunteers and respondents on emergency medical response tactics to aid the survival of accident victims, remarking that the collaborative effort is focused on adopting creative methods of ensuring that members of the public play a supportive role in getting accident victims to hospitals for treatment instead of merely taking their photographs and posting such on social media.
She also noted that the way people react to accident victims could determine whether they will suffer permanent disability or die, adding that the overall solution is to get people to sign to basic health insurance.
Between January and September this year, the partnership has directly contributed to the provision of emergency medical services that has saved the lives of at least 30 people in Lagos. An analysis of the records showed that 30 beneficiaries made up of nineteen male adults, five female adults and six children, have benefited from the Sterling Bank/HEI Medical Intervention Trust Fund 2020 with interventions spread across purchase of drugs, POP materials, laboratory tests and blood transfusion.
The beneficiaries chiefly treated for injuries sustained from road transport accident and burns due to generator fire incidents, were attended to in Lagos State at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) Annex, Gbagada; Massey Street Children Hospital; Gbagada General Hospital, Gbagada and Onikan Health Centre, among others.
For instance, Joe Doe (not real name), a beneficiary of the Sterling Bank and HEI initiative, fell from a moving vehicle and sustained a head injury. He was rescued by Lagos State Ambulance Service (LASAMBUS) and taken to LASUTH. He lost his memory completely and could not give any useful information about himself. While the hospital was planning to take him to the welfare home at Majidun in the Ikorodu area of Lagos, help came his way through the initiative. He is currently back with his family and on his path to recovery.
The story of Alib Moe (pseudonym), another beneficiary is the same as Joe’s. Alib however is a victim of a hit and run driver along Town Planning Way, Ilupeju in Lagos, and was taken to LASUTH by LASAMBUS. He was found unconscious and unable to give any information about himself.
He also benefitted from the Sterling Bank and HEI initiative after HEI was contacted to assist in funding his treatment. He regained consciousness a few days later and gave his real name. He claimed to be a tricycle rider at the Mile 2 motor park in Lagos.
Sterling Bank is known for its massive investment in people and economic prosperity. This intervention has again reiterated the commitment of the leading commercial bank to the health sector, as it has done with various support strategies and business interventions for the all-important sector over the years.