ARUA. Foundation for International Healthcare (KOFIH), a Korean government agency has donated an Ambulance to Arua Regional Referral Hospital (ARRH).

The agency is implementing a project code-named “strengthening of emergency referral system project” in Uganda through Korea’s Ministry of Health and welfare.

It is also in partnership with Uganda’s ministry of health and Medical Team International (MTI) supported by United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) with aims of improving referral services from lower health facilities in the refugee-hosting areas of West Nile region.

While handing over the ambulance to ARRH director on Thursday, country director of KOFIH, Ms. Kim Eun Jung said the ambulance is to boost the accessibility of obstetric referral services among refugees and host communities in the region.

“This will ultimately contribute to decreasing maternal and Neonatal mortality ratio and rates within West Nile where both the refugees and host community live”, Kim said.

“However, I hope that this ambulance can be used in accordance with the system that has components of the scene care, transportation care, and facility care”, she added.

director 29 06 19Country director of KOFIH, Ms Kim Eun Jung speaks during the handover. PHOTO BY JOSEPH ODAMA.

Strengthening of emergency referral system is where a variety of services like first aid services and treating trauma in the process of transporting a patient is undertaken in order to avoid more complications before the patient is delivered to the hospital in an ambulance.

Director of Clinical services in Uganda’s ministry of health, Dr. Charles Olaro said the current ambulance system in Uganda is not good enough, a reason an emergency medical policy will be developed soon which will include scene care (in case of an accident) and transportation care.

“With this, we are looking at having regional ambulances which will be pre-positioned so that the nearest ambulance will be dispatched to a scene while the receiving station will be alerted of the patient so that timely treatment is done”, Olaro said.

He said such Ambulances are expected to be manned by trained personnel that so as to take first aid to the patient before reaching the health facility.

Hospital director Dr. Alex Adaku thanked KOFIH for the Ambulance. He said the donated Ambulance has topped up the number to the old one the hospital has which has developed a lot of mechanical problems.

The hospital has between four to five monthly referrals to Mulago National hospital in Kampala which is over 400 kilometers from Arua.

“By the time the Ambulance moves for two to three times to Kampala, it requires serious maintenance. Now, this new Ambulance is going to save us a lot from borrowing and also reduce the cost of maintenance”, he said.

He said the new ambulance will reduce mobility and mortality rate for child and maternal cases in the region because it has a component that supports blood transfusion services, adding that most of the referrals to the hospital are for blood transfusion.