Officials from the Uganda National Ambulance Services (UNAS) say the ministry of health is planning to procure motorcycle ambulances with trailers with the view to improving access to health services especially in rural areas where thousands of pregnant women still die annually because of lack of quick means of transport to better facilities.
The UNAS officials voiced their support to the initiative this week during an event to show the potential benefits of boda boda ambulances.
Alisha Waiswa Simon, the Education and Training officer at UNAS said: “We have always had a problem of ambulances especially in deep villages. However ambulance management in public hospitals has been too poor which is why as ministry of health we came out to form UNAS in order to clear the ambulance problems.
Waiswa said that the acquisition of such boda ambulances with a sheltered trailer would go a long way in easing transportation of patients from hard to reach villages.
Waiswa particularly backed a model of motorcycle ambulances that were developed by the company Pulse Village Transport Limited which has piloted them in several parts of the country.
Waiswa noted that the ministry is yet to determine the exact number of boda ambulances they will procure.
“We are going to cooperate with Pulse Village Transport Limited which has already proved to us that these village ambulances can work. However we are going to organize our planning committee to set standards required since our major objective is to manage these ambulances, ” added Waiswa.
Daryle Funk, the Director Pulse village Ambulance said: “For the case of the required standards the government has to inform us since we are here to save 14 women every day that are dying.
Funk said his company has a ten year experience in the business of building boda ambulances. He said they started ten years ago in Zambia with over a thousand ambulances sold so far.
“The challenge we have in Uganda’s deep villages is that people lack facilitating funds. In Uganda so far, we have 350 village ambulances.
Reviews for Boda ambulance
For people like Rhoda Anyadwe, the Programs Manager of Change Life Uganda, the vehicle is worth investing in. She noted that it is very comfortable because the trailer has shock absrobers that make movement easy for pregnant women.
Gift Acayo, 20, who used the boda ambulance when she was going to have her baby recently also praised the initiative saying it helped move her 58kms to the hospital.
Medics speak out
Dr. Dinah Nakiganda, Commissioner Reproductive Health also backed the project: “This is a very smart approach that will automatically reduce many unreported deaths of delivering mothers and even those that need medical care in many deep villages in Uganda.”She however stressed the need to have clear specifications in order to ensure they serve the purpose. She also expressed the need for the supplier to ensure that the boda bodas are easy to maintain.