Motorbike Ambulance

KRDP had long been aware patients with medical or childbirth problems had real difficulties in getting to Kimtab Clinic, or to the nearest main hospital in Mbale which is about 20 miles away over poor quality roads. We had seen makeshift arrangements, such as some planks strapped between two bicycles , which fell  far short of the needs of the community.

In 2012 we became aware of the eRanger motorbike ambulance that is made in South Africa to a specification that suits use in rural Africa where other vehicles would not be able to go. It is essentially a motorbike and sidecar, but with a sidecar that is a single bed that can be adjusted between lie-flat  or various sitting positions to suit the needs of the patient. A range of medical equipment can also be carried. We were beginning to explore the possibility of buying one when we found that the Mbale Coalition Against Poverty, a group of NGOs in the town that work together on specific projects, had been given a number of these ambulances donated by Rotary Club International. KRDP requested that an ambulance be based at Kimtab Clinic on the basis that we would pay the costs of training the drivers, providing a secure garage in which the ambulance would be kept, and then the ongoing running costs. None of the other ambulances was earmarked for the area where we work and Mbale-CP agreed to this request. The ambulance was delivered in January 2015 and quickly started to produce real benefits by transporting patients to Kimtab Clinic and to various hospitals in the area. It has also provided valuable support to the Safe Motherhood Programme as an alternative form of transport to deliver heavy pieces of equipment to the remote clinics, instead of relying on simple motorbikes.

KRDP decided at the outset that the ambulance would be a free service to the community. In other areas, the ambulance operators are making charges for fuel or other operating costs. The operating costs are significant, including drivers costs, fuel, servicing and repair, plus mobile phones to enable community mobilisers to contact the clinic or the drivers when an ambulance is needed. Meeting regular revenue costs is a challenge to KRDP since our income is very variable. We are therefore grateful to the Burdett Trust for Nursing in agreeing to fund these costs until 2021.

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