WE NEED MORE OF THESE VILLAGE AMBULANCES – DISTRICT LEADERS TELL RICE-WN
By Rosemary Mbabazi Olema
RICE-WN in partnership with Pulse Village Transport Limited donated 2 village ambulances to Arua district local government. While handing-over the facilities to the district, the district leaders were grateful that the issue of maternal and child health was being addressed especially concerning access to health facilities with poor road network.
“Whereby there is need of transporting the mother to the health facility as rapidly as possible, sometimes we have been meeting challenges resulting in these mothers trying their best to deliver in their homes causing undesirable results like the death of the mother or the baby or both,” said Dr. Patrick Anguzu, the District Health Officer Arua district, during the handover of the village ambulances.
“We know that this help is going to create impact at that local level. However, Arua is a very big district and you gave two [village ambulances] for the other districts but maybe next time you tell the donor that Arua is actually an equivalent of five of those districts,” he remarked.
“If they wanted to give it equitably, Arua should have been having ten. But we appreciate this help that you are giving to us and we are going to inform some of our stakeholders about this and maybe most importantly, we would like to be able to document the impact that it will have in our health service delivery,’’ he added.
Meanwhile, Assistant Chief Administrative Officer, Ms. Monica Edemacu also thanked RICE-WN and Pulse on behalf of Arua District Local Government for their contribution towards fulfilling the Sustainable Development Goal [Goal 3], that is the successor program of Millennium Development Goals that ended in 2015, that has a lot of focus on Maternal and Child Health.
She re-echoed that one of the biggest challenges that have contributed to maternal deaths is the issue of transport and accessibility to health service delivery.
“You know in our tradition, many times mothers go when they have reached the advanced stages and that is when they begin looking for transport. Looking at the location of some of our facilities from the district headquarters, at times it is very had to save lives of our mothers and even the ambulances that are there in place, the vehicles we have are at health sub district level. So at grass root/health unit level, it is very hard to access these ambulances,” Monica said.
She added: “UNFPA last year gave us five motorcycle ambulances. With these two, it makes seven [and] I feel as a district, we are so happy for that support. Just like DHO has said, Arua is a regional centre the size of Arua is so big that when you give two motorcycle ambulances to other [districts] and then you give two ambulances to Arua, it is unfair to Arua as a district with 27 sub counties.”
“We really feel as our partners when you are budgeting, you look at the population size and the land area of a district and then you give these ambulances appropriately,” she advised.
The Assistant CAO further cautioned the staff to make sure that they use the motorcycles for the purpose for which they are meant saying that disciplinary action would be taken for misuse.
“We want it to be on ground don’t begin removing it and then you start riding it around okay? I know u know how to dismantle it,’’ she said.
The village ambulances were allocated by the district to Ogoko Health Centre II and Kumuyo Health Centre II.