By Rosemary Mbabazi Olema

Maracha district officials receiving Village Ambulances from RICE-WN officials

Maracha district officials receiving Village Ambulances from RICE-WN officials at the district head quarters

The districts of Maracha and Koboko were greatly humbled by the contribution of two village ambulances and motorcycle ambulances each given by Rural Initiative for Community Empowerment West Nile in partnership with Pulse Village Transport Limited in the project of scaling up immediate access to health services for pregnant mothers in rural areas of West Nile. These ambulances that are specifically given for the purpose of reducing maternal and child deaths were officially received by the district officials on the 21/01/2016 at the district headquarters.

Mrs. Martine Unzia, the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) of Maracha District sincerely expressed her gratitude for the timely intervention of the village ambulances.

“I believe the village ambulances are going to be of great help to the plight of pregnant mothers’ considering the limited ambulances in place,” she said.

The Acting District Health Officer of Maracha district, Mr. Sunday Cadribo added that the access to social services is one of the national development objectives which includes health and was therefore grateful to RICE-WN and PULSE for their contribution in fulfilling that objective.

“We are lucky as Maracha to benefit from the donation of the ambulances,” Mr. Sunday told RICE-WN. “I want to believe there is a window of negotiation [for more ambulances to be given to the district],’’ he added.

Mr. Sunday cited delays as one of the causes of high maternal death, one of them being that of mothers failing to recognize that they have a problem when labor sets in, delay to access health services by the mothers and also delay by the facilities to offer those services, among others. He said that there was still a big gap between transporting the mothers from the house holds to the health facilities since the ambulances could only pick the mothers from the health facilities to the hospitals as stated in the guidelines. Therefore he charged the community to take the responsibility of taking the mothers to the health facilities.

Meanwhile Koboko district leaders also expressed their gratitude through their RDC, Mrs. Elizabeth Ayume. She charged the in charges of the recipient health facilities, Chakulia Health Centre II and Pamodo Health Centre II, to ensure that the village ambulances are not mishandled and also requested that they be labelled to indicate belonging.

The Vice Chairperson LC5 Koboko district local government, Hon. Grace Goro also added her thanks and promised that the village ambulances would be monitored critically to ensure that they serve the purpose for which they were brought for as stated in the MOU.  Hon. Grace said they were going to make a strategy to involve every user (that is, the mothers including their husbands), to manage and maintain the village ambulances together with the district. She also emphasized that a monitoring system would be put in place to aid supervision.

The executive director of RICE-WN, Mr. Pax Sakari in response to the need for more of such village ambulances tasked the district to prove that they deserve more. He also told the leaders that as agreed by their funders PULSE, the village ambulances are to be monitored by RICE-WN for 24 months before officially leaving the monitoring to the district. Mr. Pax therefore cautioned the district officials to put the village ambulances to proper use to avoid them being reallocated to other facilities.

Additionally, the Manager Programs and in charge of Community Health, Ms. Comfort Yikiru emphasized that pregnant mothers are the primary beneficiaries. She however said that the ambulances could also be used for other purposes in extreme cases to save a life, for example, stroke, victims of accidents, acute malaria and other critical conditions.

A total of 4 village ambulances and 4 motorcycle ambulances were handed over to the two district local governments of Maracha and Koboko to improve Maternal and Child Health service delivery in the two districts.


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