Namibia: Health Procures Fleet of 60 Ambulances… Relief for Under-Resourced Rural Areas

The problem of patients waiting for hours at rural clinics for an ambulance to arrive from the nearest district hospital, sometimes located about 370 kilometres away, will be history thanks to the purchase of 60 ambulances by the Ministry of Health and Social Services.

The Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr Bernard Haufiku, said the ministry is trying its best to address the shortage of equipment, including ambulances at various health facilities.

"The strategy is to station an ambulance at every health centre," said Haufiku on Friday when he announced to the media that the first fleet of 60 ambulances that were purchased for N$50 million would be deployed to health facilities in need of ambulances.

The first batch consisted of eight ambulances and the Odimbwa clinic as well as a health facility at Onaanda are among the first priority facilities to get an ambulance, the minister said.

Of the 60 ambulances purchased, 45 are Quantums and the rest are Land Cruisers, added the minister, explaining that the Land Cruisers will be deployed in hard-to-reach areas. The remaining ambulances would arrive at the end of July.

"We're hoping that by next year there will be no clinic without an ambulance," said Haufiku. The ambulances are fully equipped with the necessities to attend to patients while being transported, and ambulance drivers will be trained in basic first aid, Haufiku said.

In addition to the ambulances, the ministry also purchased maternity delivery beds. All these measures, Haufiku noted, are to improve the quality of health care in the country.

"By the end of 2016 we do not want to see any health facility that delivers a baby without delivery beds," said the minister. "Up to 60 percent of health facilities countrywide have delivery beds," he noted. Haufiku said further that the health ministry is recruiting more midwives.

"The good thing is we don't lack midwives," added Deputy Minister of Health and Social Services, Juliet Kavetuna, a nurse by profession. Every nurse in the country is also trained in midwifery, she said. She said that having maternity beds at every health facility would reduce the chances of women dying while delivering a baby.

Source: New Era