The Belgian Development Agency, Enabel through her Enabling Health in Acholi (EHA) Project with funding from USAID, has donated 3 state-of-the-art ambulances to the Ministry of Health for the districts of Amuru, Omoro and Nwoya.
Tom Vanneste, the Enabel in Uganda Resident Representative handed over the ambulances to Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng, the health Minister at the Ministry of Health headquarters today.
The over 850 million worth ambulances have been refurbished and equipped to the recommended specifications for Type B ambulance as per latest MOH guidelines, meaning they are able to provide basic life support services like oxygen therapy, nebulization, monitoring of vital parameters and automatic external defibrillation.
The equipping and upgrade was, for the first time, locally implemented in close collaboration with the MOH Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and the engineering department.
The Minister for Health, Jane Ruth Aceng through her official twitter handle said, “This afternoon, on behalf of Ministry of Health Uganda, I received 3 type B ambulances from @EnabelinUganda in support of emergency medical services. The ambulances will be deployed to Omoro, Nwoya and Amuru districts, thank you Enabel for the support.”
The donated ambulances are expected to transport acutely ill and injured patients both from the community and from lower level facilities to hospitals which can handle them, and these in addition to a few in the region will avert unnecessary deaths happening due to delayed or missing emergency services.
The most common emergency situations happening in communities include maternal emergencies, children with acute illnesses and road traffic accidents.
In the Acholi region an assessment showed that there are few functional ambulances and the available ones are not properly equipped, prompting the Enabling Health in Acholi Project (EHA) to purchase 3 new vehicles and equip them as per the Ministry of Health latest standards.
A function emergency system requires a lot of coordination and communication at the scene, recognition of the emergency, transport with an appropriate vehicle and care during transport, and emergency care at the receiving facilities, similarly the facilities have to ensure availability of appropriate equipment, staff and medicines for treating the emergencies.
The National EMS Policy 2021 sets clear standards and guidelines for establishing regional based coordination systems and fully functional ambulances as one component of the EMS system. There is need for the districts and facilities to ensure maintenance and running costs, and establishing the regional coordination system as per MOH policy.
Enabel, the Belgian development agency implementing and coordinating the Belgian international development policy in Uganda, has been supporting the public health system for several years, including the emergency and referral services, and will continue to work with the hospitals and districts to ensure acutely ill patients receive appropriate health care.