BY AWORI ESTHER LUCY
KAMPALA, Uganda|SHIFTMEDIA| Emergency response for accident victims along the various Highways in the country has got a boost following the acquisition of 10 ambulances by government.
The ambulances purchased by the government to the tune of shs2 billion were flagged off by Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda early on Friday.
Rugunda handed over the ambulances to the Uganda Red Cross to handle emergencies on the country’s major highways. Apparently, the purchase and procurement of the ambulances were done by Uganda Red Cross.
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.
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.
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.”