Residents and health workers in Rakai district are excited following the acquisition of a new ambulance.
The emergency response truck (Reg. UBE629H) was donated by Operation International, a mission by medical volunteers offering free services.
Hospital authorities received the ambulance on Thursday during a third surgical camp organised by Kooki Chiefdom.
While handing it over, Dr. Medhat Allam, the mission’s Managing Director, who led a delegation of 24 medical specialists, said they responded to Kamuswaga’s call for medical support to the hospital and community members.
He explained that they have been working with the hospital doctors and health workers during the surgical camps and exchanged ideas on how to handle and treat different ailments and handle emergencies.
Patrick Ssekidde, the hospital administrator, said the ambulance was lobbied by the Kamuswaga Apollo Ssansa Kabumbuli II to help handle emergencies in the district.
He explained that the one which Kamuswaga lobbied from the Ministry of Health has been grounded for over three months due to serious mechanical glitches.
Ssekidde said the absence of an ambulance had delayed emergences and put the patients’ lives at stake. As a result, Kamuswaga had to step in to lobby for it among other medical equipment.
“We are soliciting funds to repair the old one in order to give our people efficient services,” he said.
Dr. Moses Sakor, the District Health Officer, said they are optimistic the new ambulance will help to reduce deaths arising from health complications that can be addressed when patients are rushed to well equipped hospitals that can handle them.
He added that they are to stock the ambulance with enough medical tools and medicine to always be on standby to attend to emergencies.
He further appealed to all well-wishers to support them in terms of fuel to enable the ambulance stay in operation at all times.
A female health worker said patients especially accident victims were the most affected and at risk of dying before reaching the regional referral hospital in Masaka.
“Hiring a private ambulance is too expensive for patients in poor communities. It is hired at between sh80,000 and sh120,000 to transport a patient from Rakai to Masaka which is about over 40km,” she explained.
Joseph Mutagobwa, the ambulance driver said the new one is modified compared to the one grounded. He explained that its stretcher bed compartment is flexible with shock absorbers which enable patients to travel with comfort.
Rakai has received three surgical camps in April, June and the one running since October to November.
Susan Nakabuye Kyolaba, the in-charge Rakai operation theatre, said more than 200 patients from Rakai, Masaka, Kampala, Mbale, Mbarara and other districts have been operated in the past camps, while others underwent plastic surgery.