Road Carnages, emergencies and why Comprehensive Emergency Services can’t wait in Uganda
On Friday last week (25th May 2018), the Country was alarmed by a road carnage along its Northern Routes that claimed a total of 22 passengers and death cases registered pre and during hospitalisation at the closest Hospital.
The wreckage of Gaaga bus
Uganda continues to be one of the low and middle-income countries burned heaviest by road traffic incidents (RTI). Recent studies indicate that Uganda experiences RTI deaths at 28.9 per 100,000 population exceeding the global average of 18.0 per 100,000 population. As a result, Uganda is among the top-ranking countries for RTIs after South Africa, Nigeria, Iran, Thailand and the Dominican Republic. RTI rank solidly among the top 10 causes of mortality in Uganda and cost the country over Shs.4.4 trillion (the US $1.2 billion).
In 2010, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed a Decade of Action for Road Safety (2011-2020) to reduce the forecast level of road traffic deaths around the world. Uganda was one of the two pilot countries selected in the region for the road safety performance review and the alarming findings led to recommendations of a robust emergency response and care system to address the high number of road injuries in Uganda.
Members of the Uganda UK Health Alliance Consortium on Emergency Care have committed considerable efforts in supporting the Ministry of Health to establish a Comprehensive Emergency System. The Consortium held a WHO country assessment of Uganda’s existing Emergency Care System to develop consensus for strengthening the system.
The multi-stakeholder consensus meeting assessment identified several gaps in emergency care and structural challenges which needed redress.
Some of the gaps in Prehospital care included; Lack of proper Scene care and First aid, inadequate and dysfunctional ambulance systems for patient transport.
In Hospital care, the function and capacity of emergency units were wanting with many facilities lacking units, skilled health workers and equipment.
The gaps in the processes of care aside, there are many challenges in the Governance and system organization of emergency Care including coverage, coordination, funding, policy and Legislation challenges among others
To guide the development of a countrywide implementation plan, the following priorities were ratified;
- Identification of resources and processes to achieve the set goals.
- Training both Prehospital and Hospital providers of care
- Increasing coverage and quality of ambulance services
- Revitalizing emergency facilities in health facilities across the country
- Expansion and operationalizing of the ministry’s directorate, fast-tracking policy formulation and establishing System of Governance.
Operationalising these priorities require partnerships and multi-stakeholder engagement. The UUKHA Emergency Care Consortium is therefore committed to supporting global partnerships between UK organisations and Institutions in Uganda in preventing accident &trauma and improving emergency care.