Extra help for ambulances
When lockdown started in Uganda, public transport was banned. Our partners in Mbale told us they expected the motorbike ambulances we support together to be in more demand than ever. Thanks to the generosity of PONT’s supporters, we were able to send some extra donations via Mbale CAP to the four District Health Offices that manage the motorbikes.
As an example we want to share with you how the donations were used by one of the four districts, Manafwa, which is home to 4 of the 33 bikes.
Overall the region has seen the increase we expected – the total number of journeys more than doubled to 2719 compared to 1227 in the same period last year.
Testing one of the bikes after repair.
Manafwa is a rural district, on the border with Kenya. (In fact our Community Health Workers prioritised sharing coronavirus information with people in the villages near the borders first, aware that there are places where people cross the border informally.)
The mountains and poor roads there take a heavy toll on the motorbikes – as toughly built as they are! – and some of the donation was used in Manafwa to carry out repairs to keep the bikes fully functional. Extra fuel was allocated to each bike, and each driver was given an allowance to compensate for their increased workload.
Manafwa’s District Health Officer spoke on a talk show to inform the population that the ambulances were available and how to contact the drivers – and we know that this helped families like Robina’s.
Manafwa saw the biggest increase in journey numbers of the four districts, with 704 journeys in April-June 2020 (compared to 163 last year). This included 567 expectant mothers and 116 children under five, and 21 other ill or injured people.
Our contact person told us “The district especially the DHOs office appreciates the timely interventions during the COVID-19 lockdown on public transport. In fact the motorcycle ambulance were the only authorized means of transport in the district 24/7. To those who contributed to this, we have no words enough to thank you.”
Above: training the drivers
Right: mothers helped by the bikes