Lack of ambulances causing more deaths, leaders claim

The main entrance of Kapchorwa hospital. Due to lack of an ambulances, most expectant mothers are taken to the facility using boda bodas. PHOTO | MICHEAL WONIALA

What you need to know:

  • The health official says they have resorted to using government pickup trucks to transport patients from rural areas health centres. The medical superintendent of Kapchorwa Hospital, Dr Ayub Wangubo, says their only ambulance has been grounded for close to two years.

District leaders and health officials in Sebei have expressed concern over lack of government ambulances to respond to emergency cases in the sub-region.

The leaders say this is the leading cause of maternal deaths because patients, especially expectant mothers, resort to using risky means such as boda boda to access health facilities.

Dr Godfrey Chemos, the Kween District health officer, says since 2010, the district has never received an ambulance from government. He said the district records about 150 maternal deaths per 100,000 people annually.
“So many lives have been lost as a result of lack of an ambulance and when a mother dies, it means a lot because Kween has a small population,” Dr Chemos adds.

The health official says they have resorted to using government pickup trucks to transport patients from rural areas health centres. The medical superintendent of Kapchorwa Hospital, Dr Ayub Wangubo, says their only ambulance has been grounded for close to two years.

“For the past two years, the ambulance has been having mechanical faults until last year when it was completely grounded,” he says.

“We are relying on the ambulances that were bought by MPs but this is not so helpful like having our own as a hospital,” he adds. Dr Wangubo says as a result, they have lost so many accident victims.

“We spend a lot of time looking for an ambulance to respond to emergencies and at the end, the victim succumbs to death,” he says. Mr Collins Satya, the Bukwo District health officer, also reveals that their ambulance is in poor mechanical condition.

“We have isolated cases where we have lost lives because we have an old ambulance, which cannot reach hard-to-reach areas,” he says.

Mr Twalla Ramazan, the Kapchorwa District vice chairperson, said they have written numerous reports to the Ministry of Health for intervention in vain. “This has affected health care service delivery because referral is really a problem now,” he said.

Mr Emmanuel Ainebyoona, the Ministry of Health senior spokesperson, said Sebei Sub-region will benefit from the 50 ambulances, which the Ministry of Health will soon acquire.

“We are expecting about 50 ambulances. The sub-region will be among the beneficiaries,” he said.

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