There is no end in sight on the shortage of ambulances in hospitals following an admission by the government that it has no money to procure the vehicles to meet the demand.
Ministry of Health Chief Director Beston Chitsamire told The Daily Times that the country has a long way to go to address the shortage of ambulances.
He has since appealed for other stakeholders’ intervention through donations.
Speaking when he toured Katumbi Rural Hospital on Tuesday, Chitsamire said most ambulances in hospitals have broken down.
“Once procured or donated by development partners, ambulances are always on roads. This leads into frequent breakdowns. Therefore, the government cannot procure ambulances for all health facilities at once. The available funds are used to replace those that are down in districts and some rural hospitals.
“Let me take advantage by appealing to our development partners to help us with ambulances. This has been a long common challenge in the health sectors that needs corroborations. Our ministry is ready to work with all stakeholders for the sake of achieving better health services to the public,” Chitsamire said.
A clinical officer at Katowo Rural Hospital, Joseph Munthali, said pregnant women die at the facility when the hospital fails to refer them to Rumphi District Hospital.
“Recently we had a case where a woman who once delivered through a caesarean method had complications. We called for an ambulance but unfortunately, it was also attending to other patients somewhere. The mother waited and we later witnessed her dying,” Munthali said.
He said such cases are common in the area, adding the facility sometimes asks patients to find their own transport from Hewe area to Rumphi Boma.
Katowo facility caters for a population of over 12,000 people.
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