New Ambulances for Mother and Child Care

The European Union (EU) in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO) has donated nine ambulances to assist the Ministry of Health and Social Services curtail the high maternal and child mortality rate in the country.

The nine all-terrain Land Cruiser vehicles that were converted into ambulances are worth N$9.5 million.

The new ambulances, which are meant to help accelerate the reduction of maternal and child mortality, will be deployed at six district hospitals in Zambezi, Ohangwena, Omusati, Omaheke and Karas regions.

Nampa quoted the Minister of Health and Social Services Dr Richard Kamwi as saying the vehicles are specifically designated to improve access to quality emergency obstetric and neo-natal care services.

“We know that one of our biggest problems due to the geographic nature of our country is access to health care. The distances are long, the referral to the next hospital in case of emergency may be complicated, and our mothers in need often encounter fatal delays in receiving healthcare on time,” explained the health minister.

At the handing over ceremony on Monday, the Head of the European Union (EU) Delegation’s Economic and Social Section, Markus Theobald, said the new fleet of ambulances would contribute to a reduction in delays in getting health services on time.

He said significant steps have been taken in the first year of the implementation of the four-year PARMaCM. “We are now in the second half of the second year. Health workers, managers and staff of the Ministry of Health and Social Services and ambulance drivers were trained in various topics in the areas of maternal and child health,” he said.

Kamwi who expressed his gratitude to the EU and WHO, said the ambulances would be distributed in Katima Mulilo, Opuwo, Gobabis, Okongo, Outapi, Keetmanshoop and three intermediary referral hospitals at Oshakati, Onandjokwe and Rundu to improve quality access to emergency obstetric and neonatal care.

Besides the ambulances, the ministry also received approximately N$100 million for the purpose of accelerating the achievement of MDGs 4 and 5 to reduce child mortality and improve maternal health.

Under the Program for Accelerating the Reduction of Maternal and Child Care Mortality (PARMaCM) the health ministry also received 17 000 insecticide treated nets and 680 vaccine carriers and in May, 95 refrigerators and 37 vaccine ice packs.

PARMaCM is aimed at addressing major causes of illness and death in mothers and children. Other objectives are to support adolescent friendly health services, and to mobilize community members for improved maternal, new-born and child care.

– Additional reporting by Nampa

Source : New Era