Mobile Ambulance Project Fails To Bear Fruit In Kyenjojo

2016 Views Kyenjojo, Uganda

In short
Access to health facilities by pregnant women in Kyenjojo district remains a challenge, despite the availability of the Boda Boda Ambulance project.

Access to health facilities by pregnant women in Kyenjojo district remains a challenge, despite the availability of the Boda Boda Ambulance project.  
Under the Boda Boda for life project, motorcycles are used as ambulances to transport the expectant mothers to health centres and hospitals for delivery.

Two hundred boda‐boda cyclists were trained by the District Health Team. Each cyclist is given a fuel voucher of shillings 10,000 when they take an expectant mother for delivery to a health facility. However, the project has recorded minimal progress, as women continue to shun the health facilities.

The project was started by the district health department with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) because women were being forced to give birth at home in unhygienic conditions citing lack of transport to health facilities.

Statistics at the district health department show that the maternal mortality rate in the district is at 55%.  

Benjamin Kayonga, the in-charge of the project, says the purpose of the Boda boda Ambulances was to save lives of pregnant mothers by accessing healthcare facilities that previously may have been out of reach. He says that during a review of the project it was found out that the women especially in rural areas weren’t utilizing the ambulances.

Kayonga says that since June last year, only 70 women have accessed the health centres in different sub counties using the boda ambulance, which he says is a small number.  He was quick to attribute the poor performance of the project to the influence of the traditional birth attendants (TBAs).

However, some of the residents attribute the failure to the poor road network especially in the rural areas.

Deborah Karamagi, a resident of Kisojo village in Kihuura Sub County, says the roads deteriorate more during the rainy season and become almost impassable for the boda boda ambulances, yet the nearest health centres are more than 10 kilometers away.  She says that this forces the women to use the services of TBAs, who are easily accessible.  

She says that although the ambulance project is good, the roads also need to be worked on.

//Cue in: “Roads are bad…
Cue out:…it’s good but.”//


About the author

Emmanuel Kajubu
Emmanuel Kajubu is proud to have been the first Ugandan journalist to write in depth pieces about the Tooro Kingdom institution. His knowledge of the inner workings of the Tooro Kingdom is what made him privy to the splits in the royal family. These splits almost challenged Tooro Omukama Oyo Nyimba Iguru's reign.

Culture, agriculture and the environment are just two areas of many of interest to Kajubu. As long as he has held a pen, Kajubu has also written about public policy, health and crime.

Kajubu is keen on impacting his society not just as a writer but also a trainer and mentor. Bundibugyo and Ntoroko districts fall under his docket. Kajubu has been a URN staff member since 2008.