Many Members of Parliament have bought ambulances to help ease government’s health burden in their constituencies.
Whereas the government appreciates the effort by the MPs, experts have expressed concern about the standard of the ambulances being bought by the MPs and other private health workers.
Ordinarily, an ambulance should have first aid drugs, life support equipment and oxygen, as well as good air conditioning.
While appearing on NBS TV’s Spotlight Show on Monday night, the commissioner Emergency Medical Services at the ministry of Health, Dr. John Baptist Wanyiaye, said they have heard of scenarios where even double cabins have been labelled ambulances.
“Most of the ambulances when they were assessed in 2018, it was found that they don’t have basic life support equipment and this, therefore, disqualifies them from being referred to as ambulances. These are just transport vehicles,” he said.
In the absence of standard ambulances, he said these normally help the patient get to the hospital, adding that the ministry is working towards getting functional ambulances.
He said the top management of the ministry approved the national ambulance services system where government committed to purchasing two types of ambulances: Type B and Type C.
He said Type B ambulances is the basic life support ambulance used for universal coverage while Type C ambulance is the advanced life support ambulance.
“Anyone who plans to buy an ambulance, should be able to buy one of these. Private sector workers, an MP or individuals who want to help their community should be able to buy ambulances which meet the standards,”he advised.
He noted that It is not the mandate of the MPs to buy ambulances.
Wanyiaye said that they shall establish call and dispatch centres to streamline the process of allocating ambulances.
“We are looking at one ambulance per constituency. Our ambulances have small oxygen cylinders that are time-bound. We are trying to coordinate so that patients do not spend so much time in the ambulances,” he said.
Eng. George Otim, the commissioner Health Services in the ministry of Health said that they have signed a contract to have a number of 60,000 litre capacity liquid oxygen tanks delivered.
“These will be installed at the National Medical Stores and at Mulago Hospital. All national and regional referral hospitals will have oxygen plants installed,” he said.