HomeCRIMETwaweza patterns with MOH towards responsiveness to emergency medical services

Twaweza patterns with MOH towards responsiveness to emergency medical services

Joshua Nahamya

Twaweza East Africa has partnered with the Ministry of Health to strengthen emergency medical services (EMS) in the Ankole region.

According to Marie Nanyanzi, Senior Program Officer, Twaweza is a non-profit making organization that amplifies people’s voices in East Africa.

She said the campaign launched on Thursday in Mbarara is meant to create awareness of emergency responsiveness tailored towards cascading the emergency services from the national to the community level.

“How can emergency service be extended to all the public because we all need to be aware how to respond in case of any emergency,” she said, adding that, there is a need to build capacity beyond the health workers to the entire community” Nanyanzi said

Dr. Celestine Barigye-Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital Director. Joshua Nahamya

She added “There is a need to build the capacity of health workers in emergency and critical care. How do we get to know how to move people to the health workers?”

Nanyanzi also said that the Ministry of Health should liaise with stakeholders to regulate the kind of ambulances particularly provided by the members of parliament.

“The ministry of health should issue guidelines to the parliament of Uganda in the procurement and management of the ambulance vehicles. This will ensure some standardisation of class of ambulances used to transport critical patients” she explained

Maria Nkalubo, principal operations officer EMS Ministry of Health acknowledged that the government of Uganda recognizes the role of EMS in establishing a functional emergency medicine system in the country to reduce permanent disability and death.

Nkalubo however said that emergency medical services are still gagging behind, a challenge calling upon the government to push further to have well-coordinated emergency medical services in the country.

“We’ve so far trained over 25000 community first respondents but compared to the 45 mln Ugandans it is just a drop in an ocean meaning that we still have a long way to go,” she said

Some of the civic leaders in Ankole attending Twaweza Emergency mecidal services launch. Joshua Nahamya

To establish a robust and functional emergency care system in the country, Nkarubo revealed that the Ministry of Health developed a national emergency medical service system policy framework.

“Without a backing policy, EMS would be pushed back by the politicians but I am glad that a policy framework on emergency medicine services was launched in 2021. And also a 5-year strategic plan to increase access to on-scene care to 50 percent by 2025 to provide ill patients emergency response within one hour” Nkalubo said

She added that the government’s mission is to increase the quality of emergency medical services to all patients in the regional referrals by 2025.

“We want to increase availability of quality emergency health care in all our regional referral hospitals, district hospitals, health centre IVs by 50 percent in 2025.” Nkalubo explained

She also reported that the ministry has currently procured 250 newly equipped ambulance vehicles and 14 boat ambulances.

“The 14 boat ambulances have already been dispatched to most of the districts and some are already operational. We expect an additional 100 ambulances this year and of which over 50 have already reached ministry of health and we also have a plan to acquire two aeromedical ambulances” Nkalubo said

Dr. Celestine Barigye, hospital director of Mbarara regional referral acknowledged that they have received a lot of emergencies emerging from road traffic accidents which requires the Ministry of Health to give urgent attention to EMS in Uganda.

“Quiet often people get accidents and some of them happen on the high ways so for us to understand this emergency medicine has to be prioritised,” Barigye said

Robert Kanusu, resident city commissioner (RCC) of Mbarara City North challenged all participants to become good EMS ambassadors.

“We want all of you from different walks of life to be able to actively participate in emergency response,” Kanusu said

Emergency Medicine [EM] is a medical specialty that equips doctors with the knowledge and skills required to care for people with life-threatening or urgent healthcare needs. This branch of medicine essentially started in the United States of America [USA] in the 1960s.

In Uganda, EM started in 2017 based on the need by the Ministry of Health for trained Emergency physicians as part of an effort to improve emergency care and overall quality of health provision. It is also a key player in coordinating and initiating treatment.

According to the Ministry of Health’s annual health sector performance report, injuries are still the top causes of mortality in Uganda contributing 7.3 percent, especially in Kampala. “In Kampala and the metropolitan area alone, medical emergencies and injuries were the top causes of mortality that registered over 2,500 deaths in 2018-2019”.

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