By Richard Oyel
The government of Uganda has commissioned a second batch of ambulances and Mobile Clinics for medical outreach to the pastoralist communities of Karamoja.
The mobile clinics bring stable health care to moving populations of pastoralists across the Sub-region. The facilities will also be used for the speedy delivery of COVID 19 vaccines to the hard-to-reach areas
Access to medical services has been a big challenge to mobile pastoralists in Karamoja. Permanent structures built to extend medical help are abandoned during the dry spells as pastoralists migrate to new places looking for pasture and water for their animals.
“Just yesterday, a mother almost lost her life while delivering her baby on the road. We had to follow her up to the Kraal since the only ambulance in the district was on another emergency response. The mother had PPH because she over bled, luckily we saved her baby,” Sagaki Patrick, District Health Officer Amudat district said.
However, there is new hope. The government through the office of the Prime Minister has commissioned another batch of Mobile Clinics and Ambulances to bring closer medical services to Karamoja Nomads.
The initiative is part of the Dryland Integrated Development Project. The Mobile Medical Units will be used to deliver routine medication and vaccines to mobile communities
“We will be using these mobile clinics to screen the clients and offer immediate remedy for the illnesses at their convenience.”, Dr. Hans Lokale – District Health Officer Moroto said.
Local leaders and health experts say the facilities will benefit especially the women and children who are the most affected when it comes to accessing medical services.
“The existing health facilities are not within the recommended sphere standards. These ambulances and mobile clinics will be used for an emergency response to underserved communities across the Sub-region”, Dr. Charles Nuagaba revealed.
Robert Ayesiga the team leader for the implementation says the 280 million shillings facility each is worth the price tag.
“These are hardy vehicles, four-wheel drives specifically targeted at maneuvering Karamoja terrains outside core development areas.”
According to the Minister for Karamoja Affairs, John Byabagambi, the mobile units will also be used to deliver COVID-19 vaccines.
“We procured the mobile units to bring stable healthcare to moving populations of Karamoja. I’m sure the ministry of Health will find it useful for the speedy delivery of routine medication, antenatal response, and vaccination of communities against common illnesses and COVID 19”, Byabagambi confirmed.
The minister also lauded the strides the government has made in recent years to ensure health care reaches to the furthest places of Karamoja.
“In 2008 Kotido had only one health center. Now they have 22 health centers. Everyone should celebrate this development.”
Over 900 medical health providers have been trained under the Dryland Integrated Development Project to beef up the health care services in Karamoja