PW 2262 Addressing lack of support for accidental gunshot victims in nigeria

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BackgroundWith the rise of insurgency, militancy, communal violence, cultism, violent political agitations and security cum citizen’s clashes, there exist a rapid increase in incidents of reported accidental gunshot victims. Unfortunately, studies have shown that support for these victims are rarely available due to a combination of factors including limited health facilities, fear of police intimidation and inadequate finance. As such, many avoidable deaths are recorded.MethodologyQuestionnaires were distributed to 500 persons who were victims, health care providers, security officers, friends and family of accidental gunshot victims. Interactions were conducted with officials of national and state health management agencies. 20 private hospitals were visited in Imo, Delta and Edo States.FindingsRecently, the Nigerian National Assembly passed a law banning a previous requirement of having police report extract before first aid or treatment will be given to gunshot victims. By the repeal of the previous law, gunshot victims can now get immediate treatment from any hospital. However, this laudable action of the Legislature does not address how medical establishments will be paid for treatment rendered. Research findings indicate that 65% of it accidental gunshot victims do not get adequate care as a result of financial incapacitation. 35% of gunshot victims that arrive hospitals die as a result of lack of immediate support funds for medical treatment. Only 15% completed their treatment with independent funding.RecommendationNew processes should be put in place for medical insurance to cover bills for accidental gunshot victims in hospitals. NGOs to build collaboration for victims support with the private sector. Proper sensitization is required from the media and NGOS for establishment of victims support national fund.

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