Motorbike ambulances for safer childbirth
The Ministry of Health has introduced motorbike ambulances (5 scrambler motorbikes with sidecar "beds") to Eastern Equatoria region in a pilot scheme aimed at cutting the high rates of maternal mortality. "We have a problem bringing critically sick people to the few referral facilities available. We have in our budget this year at least one ambulance per county, but even that one ambulance will not be enough" said Atem Nathan Riek, Director-General of Primary Healthcare.
The motorcycles, donated by UNICEF, cost about US$6,000 each
and provide space for the patient to sit or lie down and for a health worker to
sit behind the patient. Two mechanics are being employed, and they will train
local mechanics. The bikes have some advantages over heavier vehicles as they
can more easily negotiate narrower paths around flooded tracks and are cheaper
and easier to maintain in remote areas.
The service is free for pregnant women and if successful, the pilot project will be extended to the rest of the country.
Reproduced with permission from IRIN news service (http://www.irinnews.org/)