Peter Kibondo Rwakifari, the Rubanda Resident District Commissioner and District Health Officer, Abdon Birungi, says that whenever they have a COVID-19 patient pending transfer from Rubanda to Kabale Regional Referral Hospital, they first have to ring the hospital director to request an ambulance.
Rukiga and Rubanda districts health departments are grappling with the response
to health emergencies due to lack of vehicles. Local authorities note that the
three districts currently only depend on two ambulances to transport COVID-19
They also say that monitoring and surveillance of health
services at the Uganda-Rwanda border and other areas, especially on COVID-19
prevention is very difficult due to lack of transport means.
Peter Kibondo Rwakifari, the Rubanda Resident District Commissioner and
District Health Officer, Abdon Birungi, says that whenever they have a COVID-19
patient pending transfer from Rubanda to Kabale Regional Referral Hospital,
they first have to ring the hospital director to request an ambulance.
They say this creates inconvenience on the
side of the health department and patient.
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Sophie Namasoppo, the Director of Kabale Regional Referral
Hospital says the crisis worsens when health authorities in Rubanda call in need of a fully stocked ambulance yet it
has already been dispatched to evacuate another patient within Kabale or rushed
a patient to Mbarara or Kampala.
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Gilbert Ahumuza, the Acting Rukiga
District Health Officer, says that the two double cabin pick-ups allocated to
Mparo health centre Iv in Mparo town council and Kamwezi health centre Iv in Kamwezi sub-county respectively are grounded due to mechanical problems, adding
that they currently depend on a land cruiser ambulance to run all their health activities.
Ahumuza says that another vehicle attached to the District health office was
allocated to security officials manning the Uganda-Rwanda border in Kamwezi
sub-county after they also failed to get transport means yet they needed to stop cases of illegal entry.
Dr. Alfred Besigensi, the Kabale District Health Officer, says that they are
struggling with the surveillance exercise in the district because of transport
challenges. He says that even the available motorcycles lack fuel. Besigensi wonders why Kabale, Rubanda and Rukiga district has never received
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Emmanuel Sentaro Byamugisha, the Mayor Kabale Municipality, says that although
the Kamukira health center IV is considered a sub-district hospital due to
the high number of patients seeking services from there, it has never received any vehicle from the government. Byamugisha
says that referring patients especially mothers in labour is very difficult due
to lack of transport means.
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Emmanuel Ainebyoona, the Health Ministry Spokesperson told
our reporter that he will forward the concerns to his superiors for discussion. Dr. John Baptist Waniaye, the Commissioner in Charge of Emergency Services in
the Ministry of Health early this month said that the government needs to
procure an additional 169 ambulances if all Ugandans are to access emergency
Without revealing figures, Waniaye said that the available ambulances are
insufficient to serve the entire country.