By Goodluck Musinguzi
Ambulance Services in Uganda
Governmwnt of Uganda has approved a new Emergency Medical Services Strategic Plan.
This will change management of ambulances from health facility based to a Regionalized System coordinated at 14 regional referral centres to manage calls & dispatch, fueling & maintenance of ambulances.
So far two Regional Centres have been set up; for Kampala Metropolitan at Naguru RRH & for Masaka region at Masaka RRH and works are ongoing for the other regions. The ambulances will be allocated based on population levels, as we subsequently procure more.
This year, govt procured more 43 type B ambulances, 3 water boat (ICU) ambulances and 2 type C road (ICU) ambulances. So far, there are 292 type B ambulances, 5 type C road ambulances and 3 type C boat ambulances.
EFFECTIVE EMERGENCY RESPONSE ON UGANDA’S MAJOR HIGHWAYS BOOSTED WITH CLASS B AMBULANCES
By Goodluck Musinguzi
Ten State of the Art Ambulances that have enough storage space that safely accommodate the necessary advanced emergency equipment that provide adequate first care for emergency patients have been launched in Uganda.
Rt Hon Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, Uganda’s Prime Minister flagged off the Ambulances at the Twin Tower hosting the President and Prime Minister’s Office in Kampala.
Uganda government through Ministry of Health provided shs2 billion to Uganda Redcross to procure and operate these ambulances. The Prime Minister emphasized road safety and emergency rescue operations that are timely to save people who get involved in accidents.
While Commissioning the 10 Ambulances , Dr Ruhakana Rugunda said he was happy to see emergency evacuations across major highways being given support by government.
“I urge everyone using them to maintain& keep them well provide emergency services along major roads& highways across the country”, said Dr Rugunda.
Dr Rugunda said: ” This is a big achievement for our country. This collaboration is crucial because Red Cross has the capacity and there is already substantial evidence with Bududa and with the COVID-19 response pandemics.”
Dr Diana Atwine, Permanent Secretary Ministry of Health said “The government of Uganda works with partners to reach the people everywhere they are. The Red cross is one of the partners and globally, We’ve seen Red Cross in other countries Managing Emergency Health services very well. We trust that they will manage these ambulances to our satisfaction.”
She said Ministry of Health will increase investments in the ambulance system that helps boost Emergency Medical Services to save patients from dying in manageable emergencies as they are rushed to hospital.
The ambulances will provide emergency services on the highways of Kampala-Masaka-Mbarara- Kabale, Lira-Mbale, Kampala-Gulu,Kampala-Malaba and 2 will be stationed in the Kampala Metropolitan Area.
The emergency ambulance Type B combines the functionality of the normal ambulance and the space of an emergency ambulance. The storage space, which is considerably larger than in a conventional PTA, easily allows it to safely accommodate the necessary advanced emergency equipment. With the emergency ambulance, you can provide adequate first care for emergency patients.
- Large shutter cabinet for housing the necessary equipment
- Generously-sized drawers
- Storage cupboard for oxygen cylinder with additional storage compartments
- Vacuum mattress cabinet on the side wall with additional option to store a spineboard
- Hanging locker down the entire length of the left side of the vehicle
- Fold-up seat on partition wall
- Bracket for emergency medical case
- Wheel cases with stainless steel cladding
- Removable stretcher chair with crash-tested floor mounting
- Aluminium loading ramp
- 12-V power supply
- Air-conditioning unit in the patient compartment
- Roof storage compartment
It is also optionally possible to equip the vehicle with a hydraulic ambulance table and additional storage for stretchers to make it a disaster relief vehicle.
- Options for accommodating the advanced medical equipment in the ambulance Type B
- Generous amount of space
- Incident data recorder
- Thermostat-controlled electric fan heater
- 230 V power input
- Auxiliary battery with cut-off relay
- Storage cabinet for vacuum mattress and spineboard
The 10 ambulances classified and equipped as class B cost UgShs. 2billion.
Dr Rugunda said the ambulance are a concrete step that will ensure Ugandans get emergency health care.
The project is expected to have a fleet of 20 ambulances for emergency medical services on the major highways.
“It is our dream that in the next three years we shall have a fleet for every region with call centres. We hope that these ambulances are centrally managed,” said the Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary Diana Atwine.
Robert Kwesiga, the secretary general of URCS said the ambulances will provide emergency services on Kampala-Masaka, Mbarara-Kabale, Lira-Mbale, Kamppala-Gulu, Kampala-Malaba highways while two vans will serve Kampala Metropolitan area.
The Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary Dr Diana Atwine applauded Red Cross for being a faithful partner who have utilized the resources very well.
“It is our dream that in the next three years we shall have a fleet for every region with call centres. We hope that these ambulances are centrally managed,” said Dr Atwine.
She said we want to ensure people get emergency services in case of accidents. We want people to remain alive, when they get sick or situation gets out of hand we should be able to respond in time and evacuate them.
The Uganda Red cross, Secretary General Robert Kwesiga said fleet base of ambulances will continue to grow
WHY AMBULANCES ARE EXPENSIVE WORLD OVER
There is the cost of the vehicle, its maintenance, and insurance. There is the driver and crew – maybe a nurse, or paramedic. Then the equipment, supplies, and emergency medicines. Lastly, communication and management. All these have to be in place and on the ready, ideally 24/7.