Mukono Health Centre IV ambulance is in a poor mechanical condition so much that it can hardly serve its intended purpose of basically rescuing patients in critical/urgent need.
The double cabin (Pick Up) like ambulance was given to the hospital by the ministry of health in 2004 together with other health centre IVs.
The nature of the ambulance was intended to do “multiple services”.
According to Mukono Health Centre IV Medical Superintendent, Dr. Robert Kasirye, the ambulance broke down for a full year (2013) before it was taken for repair and even when it was returned about six months ago, it is still not fully functional.
“It was not well tailored for patients that are critically ill since there is no bed for patients to sleep on, but only those who can sit. So it does not conform to the kind of patients we see [who are critically ill],” he said.
Currently, the hospital relies on the ambulance which was donated to the district by Mukono Municipality MP, Betty Nambooze a few years ago.
“For extreme emergency cases, we call up that ambulance (Nambooze’s) for help, but at the patient’s cost especially in terms of fuel. Sometimes I have to dig into my pocket to save a life in case the patient is in critical condition and cannot afford the fee,” Said Dr. Kasirye in an interview.
The multipurpose ambulance donated by the ministry is used to carry out different activities for the hospital such as ferrying drugs and transporting staff on outreach and supervision services among others.
Situation at Kawolo Hospital
At Kawolo, as you approach the first building at the hospital, your eyes will quickly land on a huge rusty and abandoned ambulance which was donated by a foreign NGO.
However, a source at the hospital said the ambulance is not ‘dead’ but has been put on hold for just a while because of its high maintenance costs.
The ambulance is run on petrol and its fuel consumption is too high for the hospital to maintain.
“If you’re referred to Mulago [National Referral Hospital], you need about UShs200, 000 to take you to Mulago and bring you back to Kawolo. And yet most of the time, we have two to three referrals every day,” a senior staff said, adding that sometimes that is too much money for both the hospital given its limited budget and patients who can’t afford to fuel it.
However, the hospital has another Toyota Land Cruiser ambulance donated by the ministry of health in 2007 and this one is still in a good condition.
In fact it looks new and when asked how they have maintained in good shape, the source said, “we service it and repair it regularly.” The source however said sometimes patients are asked to buy fuel when the hospital lacks it.