Government has handed over 10 Class B ambulances to
Red Cross as part of its plan to rebuild the emergency services that have for
long depended on police pick up trucks.
Type B ambulances are used for universal coverage
and have medicine and medical equipment to provide emergency medical care like oxygen
tanks, stretchers, gloves, medicine, defibrillators and suction machines.
The 10 ambulances handed over to Red Cross will help handle emergency and accident response along major high ways. The ambulances were bought with government funds. They will provide emergency services on the highways of Kampala to Masaka then to Mbarara and Kabale. They will also operate along Lira to Mbale, Kamapala to Gulu, Kamapala to Malaba while two will be stationed in the Kampala Metropolitan.
The ambulances were handd over to Red cross by the
Prime Minister, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda. The ambulances are Toyota Landcruisers that have cost 2 billion shillings.
Dr Diana Atwine, the permanent secretary says the
ambulances will enable quick evacuation of injured persons whose injuries will be attended to as soon as they crew reach the accident site .
Unlike before when ambulances were attached to
health facilities, Atwine says the new fleet of ambulances will be placed at
regional dispatch centers instead of at hospitals like before.
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Previously Uganda had only four Class B ambulances
in the country. The procurement of the 10 brings the country’s total to 14. With
another 10 ambulances expected, Atwine says the country is on the way to
building a strong ambulance system. Each ambulance will have three highly
trained staff, trained by Redcross.
For years, Uganda has been planning to launch an
emergency center. Dr Atwine says the procurement of the ambulance fleet is a step in
the right direction. “We are planning to have a running call center in a few
months located in Naguru," she said. "We want to make sure that all persons in need of
emergency services have a number they can call and be assisted at all times.”
Dr John Baptist Wanyiaye, the commissioner in charge
of emergency services says the procurement of the ambulances is part of
government’s bigger plan to build a standardized emergency system.
“There are so many accidents that take place in Uganda
but often the emergency services used cause more damage than save live. This
new fleet will go a long way to improving the way things have to be done,” he
According to Dr Wanyiaye, government’s plan is to only
procure type B or C ambulances. In type C ambulances- minor surgery can take
Uganda has a total of 440 ambulances but majority
are a type A- which have no equipment. They are transport vehicles.