YUMBE. The local residents and leaders in Yumbe district were on Wednesday treated to excitement when Aringa South constituency Member of Parliament (MP), Mr Yorke Alioni Odria donated a brand-new Ambulance to boost health services in the district.

The Ambulance, which was part of MP Odria’s 2016 campaign pledge, has helped to reduce the gap of Ambulances in the district from eight to seven, according to Dr. Alfred Yayi, the Yumbe district health officer (DHO).

While handing over the Ambulance to Yumbe district officials at the district headquarters, Odria said during the 2016 election campaign, he faced a lot of challenges especially from women who would like to seek health services but find it hard due to lack of transport.

"At night, mothers would call me on phone while others would run to me personally seeking help in terms of transport. I sacrificed to transport such mothers using my own car to health facilities and one time, an expectant mother almost gave birth in my vehicle but immediately after she came out of the car, the mother delivered," Odria said.

"So, I pledged that before my term ends, I must sacrifice and get an Ambulance to support government services within Aringa South constituency and Yumbe district as a whole, and that is what I have done today," he added.

Odria said he started saving money after elections to purchase the Ambulance and assured the people that it is not going to be limited to Aringa South but also help in other parts of the district.

The MP also donated a patient monitoring machine and 4 litres of portable oxygen to be installed in the Ambulance while the gloves and masks he delivered will be distributed to all the health units in Aringa South county.

In his remarks, Dr. Yayi said the support given by the MP has come timely because the district has been facing some logistical challenges in the health sector.

Yayi said in terms of Ambulance services, they have 13 sub-counties including Yumbe town council and their plan was that if each of the sub-counties can have an Ambulance, it would be good for easy referral services.

"As a district, we have five Ambulances currently with a gap of eight that we still need but with the donation of the Ambulance by the MP, the gap has reduced to seven. We are only lucky because of the Ambulances of the implementing partners like IRC that help a lot in emergency cases in the district," Yayi stressed.

"Inadequate number of Ambulances in the district poses a risk to the expectant mothers resulting into high child and maternal mortality rate in the area. We lose 2-3 mothers during labour period and about 10-20 children in one quarter in different facilities in the district," Yayi explained.

He attributed the high mortality rate among the children and mothers to delays in transporting mothers to health facilities for delivery.

Ms Viola Candiru, a mother of 5 in Drajini sub-county, Aringa South constituency commended MP Odria for the Ambulance, saying it will help in saving the lives of women and children in the area.

She added that the Ambulance will help them a lot because some parts of the constituency are difficult to be accessed.

"We have been relying mainly on motorcycles which sometimes are not effective. Some of the mothers and children die because at times, labour starts late in the night and it takes time to get a motorcycle to transport such mothers to health facilities," Candiru said.

She observed that women and children are vulnerable and when such transport facilities are available, the high child and maternal mortality rate in the district can be reduced.

"As a district, we are proud that we have added another Ambulance on the existing ones. We are mindful of the spirit and the objective as to why the Ambulance was donated. So, we shall ensure that we harmonise the interests of the parties as far as management is concerned," Mr Innocent Asaba, the Yumbe district chief administrative officer (CAO) said.

Meanwhile Mr Richard Andama, the Yumbe resident district commissioner (RDC) observed that pregnant mothers in the district do suffer a lot during labour.

He said some of the mothers deliver by the road side while others deliver at home, an act that puts their lives at risk.

"We have the health facilities and it is risky to deliver in the community. Let the men cooperate with the women and ensure that expectant mothers are timely taken to health units," Andama advised.

"We appreciate the support given by the MP and this is what other leaders should emulate. It is the responsibility of the elected leaders to help the community. They shouldn't go and remain in Parliament without helping the people who gave them the mandate to represent them in Parliament," he added.

The Ambulance has been allocated to Dramba health centre III in Drajini sub-county meanwhile the previous Suzuki Ambulance donated by UNFPA at the facility has been shifted to Kulikulinga health centre III in Odravu sub-county.