Breakdown of Ambulances Hindering Emergency Medical Care in Amuru

By our Reporter.

Amuru district health department is facing difficulties to respond to medical emergencies due to lack of functioning ambulance services.

The only two ambulances belonging to the district including one that was donated around 2006 by Medicines Sans Frontiers, an international humanitarian medical non-governmental organization have broken-down.

Apollo Kaggwa Okello, the Secretary for Health said the district recently failed to respond to emergencies involving two mothers who were in labor in far-fetched rural villages of Pogo in Pabbo Sub-County, and Mutema in Amuru Sub-County. According to Kaggwa, the mothers reportedly died on their way due to weak emergency response links.

Kaggwa disclosed that the two ambulances have been grounded at Pabbo Sub-County headquarter and Kaladiima Health Center in Lamogi Sub-County respectively. He added that over 10 million shillings is required for repairs.

According to Margaret Odokonyero Okot, the Assistant District Health Officer the health department relies on only one vehicle given by the Ministry of Health under maternal-child health care programme.

Odokonyero revealed that currently, their capacity to render emergency medical care to address a wide range of acute conditions that include injuries, complications of pregnancies, timely response to life-threatening conditions is in jeopardy.

Amuru’s over 300, 000 population is sparsely settled across distant four sub-counties in the district is being served by Atiak Health Center IV in Atiak Sub-County. The district also now depends on the services of nine health center IIIs and 16 health centre IIs.

Of the eight districts that comprise Acholi sub-region; Lamwo, Omoro, Gulu, Amuru, Agago, Pader, Kitgum, and Nwoya, only five that includes (Gulu, Lamwo, Pader, Kitgum and Omoro) have single operational ambulances.

When contacted, Emmanuel Ainebyoona, the Senior Public Relations Officer in the Health Ministry says there is a strategic policy paper pending Cabinet’s approval in order to procure ambulances that will be placed in central points across each of the five regions of Uganda to respond to medical emergencies.

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