The Prime Minister of Uganda Dr Ruhakana Rugunda has on Friday flagged off 10 ambulances procured by Uganda Red Cross to handle emergencies on the country’s major highways.
While flagging them off at the ministry of Health Headquarters in Kampala, Dr Rugunda said that ambulances are a concrete step that will ensure Ugandans get proper emergency health care.
“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 recently when we were faced with the COVID-19 response epidemic,” he said.
The 10 ambulances are equipped as class B and cost over Shs2 billion. They were procured by the Uganda Red Cross with funding from the government of Uganda. The procurement of these 10 classified ambulances is a move by the government to the Uganda Red Cross to ensure targeted service delivery.
The Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Health Dr Diana Atwine applauded Red Cross for being a faithful partner who has utilised the resources very well.
“We 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.
Nationwide, there has been an ambulance challenge in terms of management and most cases reports have shown that most ambulances stage at the hospital and when the need arises the would be unable move due to lack of fuel or poor mechanical conditions.
However, Dr Atwine said that to ensure that ambulances are in good conditions they are now going to managed by the central system, not Health Centers. “We have been having ambulance shortage, that is why we are buying more and we shall continue buying more, however also the management has not been good, that is why these ambulances we are buying now are going to be managed by regional departments, we are not going to put ambulances at health centres like how it has been, now the central management is going to take over, and they will be used by the Red Cross that is why we gave them money to procure them,” she said.
She added that classified ambulances will not only pick victims from the scene but they will first do some basics treatment to the victims. “We are no longer buying empty ambulances, we want ambulances with full entities such that we can offer basic services to patients not just picking a victim, that’s why Red Cross is recruiting more people fit to do this job. These are not mere ambulances but it’s emergency medical services,” she said.
The Uganda Red cross, Secretary-General Mr Robert Kwesiga said fleet base of ambulances will continue to grow. “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. The project is expected to have a fleet of 20 ambulances for emergency medical services on the major highways.”
In the last Financial Year government through the Ministry of Health gave Red Cross Shs9.4bn, part of this money is what has been used to procure the 10 ambulances, on the same money Red Cross is constructing a Health Center for the people who were displaced in Bududa and Bulambuli.
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