1.6 Million in Acholi Rely on Five Ambulances

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A population of 1.68 Million people in Acholi sub region are relying on five old ambulances for referrals to better medical facilities in case of emergency, according to reports.

That puts the ratio of ambulance to the population at 1:33600.

This has complicated referrals especially of expectant mothers and accident victims to better medical facilities where they can receive the much- needed medical care.

Acholi sub region which comprises of eight districts has a total population of 1.68 million people, according to UBOS 2014 census report.

Out of the eight districts in the sub region, only five have working ambulances which were either procured by government or donated by humanitarian organisations which were working in northern Uganda, the epicentre of the LRA rebels led insurgency between 10 t0 12 years ago.

The districts with single functional ambulance are; Gulu, Nwoya, Pader, Lamwo and Kitgum.

Meanwhile districts in Acholi sub region without a single ambulance are; Amuru, Omoro and Agago.

Dr Charles Oyoo Akiya, the Lamwo District Health Officer (DHO), says they district has one functional ambulance which was procured in 2008.

Dr Akiya says the district had two ambulances, but one has broken down and is yet to be repaired.

He adds that although brand new ambulances were procured recently by International Rescue Committee (IRC), a nongovernmental organisation but it is purposely to serve over 32,000 South Sudanese refugees at Palabek Ogili settlement camp.

When contacted, Emmanuel Ainbyoona, the Senior Public Relations Officer at the Ministry of Health said plans are underway to procure brand new ambulances for all the sub regions across the country.

Ainbyoona noted that the delay to procure ambulances is due to the failure to adopt the medical emergency policy.

He revealed that government will establish a central point in each of the region where ambulances will be parked and dispatched to attend to emergencies through notification by a phone call.

He adds that no emergency vehicle will be given to a hospital other than it being parked at emergency ambulance centres.

In 2014, the Ministry of Health established the Uganda National Ambulance Service (UNAS) to address the need for emergency pre-hospital care in Uganda.

Injury and medical emergencies are among the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in Uganda.

The burden has cost the country enormously both in terms of human life and resources.

Currently, pre-hospital care is given on an adhoc basis, by fragmented providers namely the Police and community by standers near crash scenes in case of road traffic crashes.

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