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Most Kampala Ambulances Danger to Patients and Medics :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Most Kampala Ambulances Danger to Patients and Medics

According to Mulimira, an ideal ambulance, according to should have oxygen, suction kits, trolleys, patient monitors, pulsi oximeter, glucometers, bandages, splints, side boards, inflatable splints, collapsible wheel chair, medical kit, drugs, spinal collars and spine boards.
Mulimira standing in one of the St. John Ambulances

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Only four medical facilities in and around Kampala have properly stocked and road worthy ambulances.

Ambulances are vehicles or means of transport equipped to take sick or injured people to and from the hospital in emergency situations.

According to a disaster preparedness drill that was carried out in June this year by the Ministry of Health, Red Cross Uganda, St. John's Ambulance and the Ministry of Transport, only four health facilities and two ambulance services had the right to operate.  The drill was aimed at ascertaining the country's preparedness to handle emergency situations like bomb blasts, floods and so on.

Jonathan Francis Mulimira, an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) who was part of the team that carried out the survey says that only four health facilities had ambulances good enough to carry patients.

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In addition to the four health care facilities, only two ambulance services, St. Johns and City Ambulances were found to have ambulances that are of the required standard to save patients.

Currently in Uganda less than five private ambulance services exist in the country. Most ambulances are owned by Uganda Police or specific hospitals.

According to Mulimira, an ideal ambulance, should have oxygen, suction kits, trolleys, patient monitors, pulsi oximeter, glucometers, bandages, splints, side boards, inflatable splints, collapsible wheel chair, medical kit, drugs, spinal collars and spine boards.

In addition to possessing standard equipment, ambulances according to Mulimira should meet certain standards.

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In terms of height, Mulimira explains that the interior of the vehicle being used as an ambulance should be tall enough for an attendant to stand to their full height.

Several politicians and public figures have donated ambulances to their constituencies or communities.

In car bonds in Kampala, a second class ambulance costs between ugx 45 and 70 million depending on the brand of the car. Mercedes Benz ambulances are the most expensive, most costing at least ugx 70 million.

Mulimira says that most of these cars donated do not meet the standards of a basic life support ambulance. “Some of these fabricated ambulances are not safe for anyone traveling in them. Attendants in them might find themselves sick or in danger during long journeys.”

However, with no department of policy directly involved in running ambulance services in the country, or a central ambulance service in the country, Christine Kasirye, National Executive Secretary defined running an ambulance service as a liability.

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Kasirye says that with ambulance hotline, ambulance service providers like St. John depend on the police hotline to help Ugandans in need.

"We have to rely on police most of the times because most people call police in case of emergencies. Few know the numbers of specific ambulance services."

The first ambulance service in Uganda was established in 1930 following a Sleeping Sickness outbreak to offer assistance in the fight against the epidemic.

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