June 3, 2013

Arua Residents to Start paying for Ambulance

Arua district is considering implementing the ambulance user fee. The proposal to levy a fee for ambulance services was made by the district finance committee in the 2012/2012 financial year. While presenting the proposal, Muzamil Acema, the then Arua district finance secretary said the plan was aimed at widening the tax base of the district. Acema also said the money would help maintain the ambulances, which occasionally break down because of lack of repairs due to budgetary constraints.

Arua district has four ambulances. One is stationed at Arua regional referral hospital, two at lower health centers and a standby one at the district headquarters. Dr. Patrick Anguzu, the Arua district health officer says while the district produce to introduce the levy, it didn’t specify how money should be collected and used. As a result, the medical workers failed to implement the proposal.

He concurred with the district that the money would help to maintain and sustain the ambulances. Wilfred Saka, the Arua district social services committee chairperson says that they are considering implementing the proposal despite the fact that it failed to take off as planned this financial yeart.  He denies claims that the proposal is aimed at frustrating health service delivery saying they want to improve it for the better. However, attempts to revive the ambulance levy have not gone down with some members of the public.

Swaleh Buga, a resident of Awindiri ward in Arua municipality wonders why the district wants to charge patients when health services are meant to be free of charge. Donato Amadru, a resident of Edfiofe trading center in Pajulu Sub County says he is disturbed by the failure by the district council to follow the government directive on free health services for all. He believes that once enforced, the proposal will breed corruption.

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