Hoima In Fundraising Campaign for Ambulance

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In short
Gerald Asaba, the in charge Kikuube Health Center IV says despite serving the most remote areas of the district, the facility has gone for a decade without an ambulance after the old one broke down.

28- year- old Regina Ayesiga, a resident of Kicunda village in Kiziranfumbi sub county in Hoima district rode on a boda boda motorcycle to Kikuube Health Center IV while in labour, a month ago. The mother of two endured a bad road and a four kilometer distance to the Health Center on a boda boda.

Ayesiga was lucky she made it to the health facility, where she delivered a bouncing baby girl. Although health workers warn against such dangerous transport means for mothers in labour, Ayesiga says a motorcycle was the only means of transport available at the time. Ayesiga is one of the many mothers in Hoima villages struggling to access health facilities during delivery.

As a result some die or lose their newborns due to delays in reaching health centers. Hoima is one of the districts with high maternal mortality rates. URN could not readily ascertain current district maternal mortality statistics but health officials say the rates are above the national statistics of 438/100,000 live births.

Hoima hospital lost 20 mothers in labour in the period between July-October this year. Late arrival to health centers by mothers in labour is the leading cause of maternal death. Hoima district has a single ambulance stationed at Hoima Regional Referral Hospital. This is not enough to run around the district and rush mothers to health centers. 

The district has however partnered with Theta Uganda to fundraise for another ambulance, which will be stationed at Kikuube Health Center IV in Buhaguzi County. Shillings 200milion is needed to buy the state of the art ambulance. 

Gerald Asaba, the in charge Kikuube Health Center IV says despite serving the most remote areas of the district, the facility has gone for a decade without an ambulance after the old one broke down. Asaba says this has been a challenge to effective referral and delivery of quality health services for mothers and newborns.

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Kikuube Health Center serves Kabwoya, Kyangwali, Kiziranfumbi, Buhimba and Bugambe sub counties. The health sub district serves the rural, remote and hard to reach community of more than 6,000 households and more than 100,000 people.

The health Unit delivers between 90-110 mothers every month. Joshua Thembo, the Program Officer Theta Uganda says the organisation realised the transport challenge through its maternal health project, which is being implemented in the district.

Thembo says under the project, Theta realised that many expected mothers die because of delays in accessing health centers, yet the district is constrained by funds to procure ambulances. He says this is reason the organisation is spearheading a community fundraising drive to raise the Shillings 200million needed for the vehicle by April 2016.

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Appeals to stakeholders and well-wishers, sale of contribution cards, raffle draw, fundraising dinners, mini marathon, grand walk for maternal health, are among the fundraising strategies. Shillings 14million has already been realized, this includes 10million contributed by Theta.

John Williams Byakagaba, the Hoima District Planner says the district needs three more ambulances but these cannot be procured now because of budget constraints.

Byakagaba reveals that the district receives only Shillings 32million for Primary Health Care (PHC) from the Health Ministry. He says this money can't be enough for ambulances and also cater for other operational expenses in the health sector.

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