Findings from the study shows that many of the ambulances used in the country do not have emergency equipment or medicine such as pain medication, vital signs monitors, an electrocardiogram (ECG) machine, a defibrillator or an intubation set used to clear blocked airways, Tranexami acid that prevents excessive bleeding caused by trauma like an accident. In addition to this, things like non-breather face masks needed to assist breathing are not present
A survey conducted by Makerere
University School of Public Health has revealed that 70% of ambulances used in
Uganda to ferry patients to hospitals lack equipment, medical supplies or even
The findings of the survey were published in the scientific and clinical
journal, BioMed Central. The survey centered on finding out the
state of emergency medical care services in Uganda.
Findings from the survey were established after 52 pre-hospital
service providers like ambulance services or police pick-trucks showed that the
level of care given to patients is substandard during transportation to health facilities. Findings also show that both police
and ambulances do not have essential medical supplies or equipment like pain
medication, vital signs monitors, an electrocardiogram (ECG) machine, a defibrillator
or an intubation set used to clear blocked airways.
It shows that ambulances lack equipment such as suction machines that
remove obstruction from airways or medicines such as Tranexami acid that prevents
excessive bleeding caused by trauma like an accident. In addition to this,
things like non-breather face masks needed to assist breathing are also not present.
In addition to lack of medicines, finding from the survey also shows
that majority of the persons who operate emergency service vehicles
or missions do not have any kind of medical training.
The ministry of health in 2018 finalized the
Emergency Services policy which is supposed to guide the operation of emergency
service providers such as ambulances. However, the policy is yet to be passed
As part of the policy, ambulance services have been categorized
into three categories- type A for transporting patients, type B for universal
coverage which will have medicine and medical personnel to provide emergency
care and type C where minor surgery can take place on patient within a moving
In Uganda only the Uganda Heart Institute has a Type
Dr. John Baptist Wanyiaye, the Commissioner in charge
of Ambulance Services at the ministry of health says that since the policy has
not yet been passed, there is little that the ministry can do enforce ambulance standards
in the country.
According to the ministry of health ministry, there
are 440 ambulances in the country. Wanyiaye says that majority of the
ambulances that are used in the country are type A. They do not have the capacity
to offer emergency lifesaving care.
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Last year, 24-year old Haula Namakula gave birth to
sextuplets at Rubaga Hopsital. However three of the babies died on their way to
Kawempe Referral Hospital. Doctors at Kawempe say some of the children died due
to lack of oxygen.
Dr. Wanyiaye says that government is working towards making
sure that all new ambulances that enter the country are either type B or C to
avoid such occurrences from ever happening again.
“All ambulances brought in through the right channels
now have to either be type B or C so that patients can get adequate care,” he