Lagos state ambulance service: a performance evaluation

Objectives: The mortality rate from road traffic accidents (RTAs) in Nigeria is almost double that of the USA. In Nigeria, the first emergency medical services (EMS) system was established in March 2001, The Lagos State Ambulance Service (LASAMBUS). The objectives of this study are to (1) determine the burden of RTAs in Lagos, (2) assess RTA call outcomes, and (3) analyze LASAMBUS’s response time and causes for delay.

Methodology: We reviewed completed LASAMBUS intervention forms spanning December 2017 to May 2018. We categorized the call outcomes into five groups: I. Addressed Crash, II. No Crash (False Call), III. Crash Already Addressed, IV. Did Not Respond, and V. Other. We further explored associations between the (1) causes for delay and outcomes and (2) response times and the outcomes.

Results: Overall, we analyzed 1352 intervention forms. We found that LASAMBUS did not address 53% of the RTA calls that they received. Of this, Outcome II. No Crash (False Call) accounted for 26% and Outcome III. Crash Already Addressed accounted for 22%. Self-reported causes for delay were recorded in 180 forms, representing 13.7% of the RTA burden. Traffic congestion accounted for 60% of this distribution.

Conclusion: LASAMBUS response rates are significantly lower than response rates in high-income countries such as the USA and lead to increased RTA mortality rates. Eliminating causes for delay will improve both LASAMBUS effectiveness and RTA victims’ health outcomes. Changing the public perception of LASAMBUS and standardizing LASAMBUS’ contact information will aid this as well.