The Uganda Red Cross Society (URCS) has appealed to the Budget Committee to reinstate a Shs10 billion allocation for Emergency Medical Services and Disease outbreak response.
In the Financial Year 2019/2020, the government committed a budgetary allocation of Shs10 billion to support the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and Shs1 billion for the mobilization of blood donors.
However, in the last three financial years, the Uganda Red Cross Society has been receiving Shs9.4 billion for emergency response and further reduced to Shs5.02 billion in the current financial year.
Uganda Red Cross provides first aid and ambulance services and according to the organisation, the programme funded through the Ministry of Health is improving the timeliness of the provision of emergency medical care to victims of road accidents.
The URCS operates 21 ambulances and these are managed through a call and dispatch centre.
However, Robert Kwesiga, the URCS Secretary General said that out of the 21 ambulances, five for disease outbreak response have reached the sale by time and just left with one year before they are bonded.
He told the committee that new and more ambulances are required to replace the five ambulances.
Kwesiga noted that the significant decrease in the funds for Emergency Medical Services and Disease Outbreak has grossly affected their response.
He said that this will enable URCS to continue responding to road traffic accidents, create public awareness of road safety, provide first aid and ambulance services for national events, and respond to disease outbreaks.
Under their disaster preparedness and response, Kwesiga appealed to the committee to reinstitute the Shs12.56 billion budget to support the Uganda Red Cross predict, prepare and respond to disasters and related emergencies in the country in collaboration with the government through the Office of the Prime Minister.
On 14th September 2022, the Government through OPM signed a Memorandum of Understanding detailing its support to the Red Cross to strengthen its first responder mechanism towards sustainable and timely Community Level Disaster Preparedness and Response.
The Deputy Chairperson of the Budget Committee, Hon. Wamakuyu Mudimi said that the Uganda Red Cross Society needs to be supported considering that donors are scaling down their operations.
Uganda Red Cross Society (URCS) is a membership humanitarian organization with over 500,000 members and volunteers. It was incorporated in 1964 following the enactment of the Red Cross Act as an auxiliary to government and other public authorities exercising their obligations as per the Geneva Conventions.