The high ambulance
costs associated with transporting COVID-19 patients are unavoidable, according
to the Ministry of Health. On the open market, it costs Shillings 360,000 to
transport a COVID-19 patient within Kampala.
In other parts of the country, private
service providers such as City Ambulances charge as much as Shillings 2.6million
to transport a patient from Kampala to Arua. While these fees might
look exorbitant, the health ministry, says that they are justifiable given the
cost of emergency services.
They say that even the government, which does not
charge for the services spends a lot of money to transport patients around
Kampala. Dr. John Baptist Wanyiaye, the commissioner in charge of Emergency Services in the Health Ministry says that the government spends Shillings 200,000
to transport COVID-19 patients within Kampala.
According to Dr.
Wanyiaye, there is no way they can operate an ambulance service without
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says that the money is spent on buying fuel,
paying risk allowances, procuring personal protective equipment, refilling
oxygen cylinders and emergency medicines used in the ambulance.
Wanyiaye says that if
the government can spend that much on ambulance services, then private
hospitals obviously charge more since none of their costs are subsidized by the
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If these costs are to reduce, Dr. Wanyiaye says government will have to invest
in procuring over 200 ambulances to extend services to all Ugandans. As of
today, the country has 116 government run ambulances.