President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has reiterated the need for Busoga University to teach marine engineering and related courses.
made the statement after commissioning 12 marine ambulances at the
Uganda People's Defence Forces-UPDF marine base in Entebbe. The event
took place on Friday, May 20th.
says he is concerned that none of the public universities currently
teaches marine engineering and yet people are operating boats, canoes
and ferries across the country. There were nine public and 44 private
universities in the financial year 2017/2018.
The President has also ordered the Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja and relevant
ministries to ensure measures such as enforcement on speed governors,
are put in place to stop road accidents.
Police figures show that over 18 people have been killed in road accidents since last month.
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however commended the Ministry of Health and development partners
namely GAVI, Global Fund and UNICEF for providing the water ambulances
which will be deployed to 12 districts with islands or near water
districts include; Mukono, Kalangala, Buvuma, Ntoroko, Serere, Amolatar
and Jinja. Others are Obongi, Mayuge, Namayingo, Kabale and Kumi.
Minister of Health, Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng says the marine ambulances will
be operated by UPDF and police officers because the health ministry
currently lacks marine engineers and crew members. The ministry will
provide emergency medical personnel while the ministries of defence,
works and internal affairs will facilitate operations such as
licensing, inspection and maintenance.
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a result, Museveni says there is a need for training marine engineers
to build capacity of civilians. Uganda used to train it's marine
engineers and navigators at the East African Railways schools before
the East African Community collapsed in the 1970s.
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Charles Ayume, the Chairperson of Parliamentary committee on health,
says there is need to prevent accidents and lifestyle diseases to reduce
on the need for ambulances in the water and mainland.
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Aceng says water ambulances consume a lot of fuel. She also noted that a water boat uses 200 litres for a return trip for
Entebbe and Kalangala, which is fuel that ten road ambulances would
need to evacuate patients and emergency cases at a go.
As a result, she says the finance ministry must consider requests for extra money for the water ambulances. Dr. Aceng says two more boat ambulances are expected to arrive soon.
a result, there will be 14 new boat ambulances by end of the year. Of
these, three are equipped to provide mobile intensive care unit
services. These three ambulances were bought by the government of Uganda
at a total cost of 510,000 US Dollars, about Shillings 1.8 billion.
rest of the boats have been bought with funding amounting to 1.8million
US Dollars, about Shillings 6.6 billion from GAVI and Global Fund,
according to UNICEF Country Representative Munir Safieldin.
says the funds were channeled to UNICEF which procured the boats,
which will be ", essential to supporting the government's continued
efforts to strengthen the health system...allow health workers to reach
locations that are only accessible by water and will facilitate access
to emergency care by providing critical ambulance services." He
is also happy that health workers will use the ambulances for mass
vaccination in the fishing communities and hard to reach islands.
Legislators from the 12 districts want the ministry of health to ensure the water ambulances operate.
Woman MP, Agnes Atom, Kalangala Woman MP, Hellen Nakimuli, Julius
Mukasa Opondo, the Bujjumba County say the local governments need to be
involved in the supervision and safekeeping of the boat ambulances
because they have not been included on the memorandum of understanding
with the health ministry.
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Dr. Diana Atwine, the Permanent Secretary at the health ministry, says
the new boat ambulances have tracking devices. She noted that the
ministry had taken time to dispatch the boats before installing tracking
devices, having recorded theft of engines for 8 of the eleven boats
procured over a decade ago.
Mministry plans to have a total of 20 marine boats within the next two
years. It also plans to have a total of 460 road ambulances in the
coming years. There are currently 178 functional road ambulances which
the ministry say have maintenance and management problems.