According to the coordinator of this initiative Dr. George Mukone Mudanga, the ministry of health plans to establish a standalone public institution by an Act of Parliament called Uganda National Ambulance Service (UNAS) with a mandate to coordinate all emergency-related health services in the country. Also the ministry will establish an autonomous national ambulance services with the mandate to provide a regulatory agency to coordinate all ambulance (emergency) services in Uganda.
The initiative is the first of its kind in Uganda and only the second one in Africa after Ghana. According to Mukone, the Ministry of Health plans to procure over 50 ambulances that will be centrally coordinated to respond to distress calls from different parts of the country.
To test the service, the ministry plans to start with Kampala in a pilot phase where people will be able to call for ambulance help in case of accidents or other health-related emergencies.
Besides the ambulance service, UNAS will train people to man a call center to which members of the general Public can call for help on how to handle accident emergencies as they wait for the ambulance or before they can transport the patient(s) to hospital.
The entire project is expected to provide jobs up to 400 people, according to Mukone. And for the hard to reach places such as slums, the service plans to use boda bodas.
“It is proposed that the financial resources of the institute shall consist of, budgetary appropriations, borrowing, insurance refunds, donations, gifts, grants loans and bequests and Non Tax Revenues (NTR),” says Dr Mukone.
Dr Mukone says the project will work hand in hand with the police, AAR and other institutions it will be responsible to offer licenses to institutions with ambulances, in that the expenses incurred on these services will be refunded as this will also go for the private cars.
“This is something we are starting for the first time because the economy is growing there is need for services to cope,” said Dr. Mukone.
Uganda is one of the top ten countries in the world with the highest number of road accidents and it’s hoped that efforts like these will attract the attention of Parliamentarians as well as the general public.
However, promoters of this project are likely to face questions regarding the capacity of our Ugandan hospitals to handle the already high number of accident victims.