Arrangements have been finalised for government to start offering pre-hospital emergency treatment to survivors of natural or man-made disasters.
The Health ministry is seeking $157m (about Shs395 billion) to purchase 100 ambulances, each estimated to cost $10,000 (Shs25m) in the next five years. According to Uganda National Ambulance Services Coordinator George Mukone Mudanga, the pre-hospital emergency services seek to provide healthcare to people in emergencies before taking the victims to hospitals.
“The ambulances will be fitted with modern technology where surgery can take place and an emergency telephone number known to people in case of need. The ambulance would reach the survivors in 10 to 20 minutes depending on the location,” said Dr Mudanga.
He said the requisitioned money will be used to set up a centre to train medics and other personnel in emergency and ambulance management; set up offices and pay salaries of about 1,400 employees for the programme, slated to start this year.
“This programme will help those in emergency situations at zero cost but will also create jobs for Ugandans. Each ambulance will be manned by three people every eight hours or so,” Dr Mudanga said in an interview. He said the Uganda National Ambulance Services will soon be turned into a semi-autonomous entity with special funding once Cabinet approves the proposal.
Dr Mudanga said currently only three per cent of the population access emergency services while ambulances in most major government hospitals are abused while others break down for several months without repair.