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County sickened with rescue van lacking kits to save lives

By Mactilda Mbenywe | Published Thu, February 8th 2018 at 00:00, Updated February 7th 2018 at 20:51 GMT +3
Kisumu County Director of Health says the county has 14 ambulances, with one that is well equipped [Dennis Ochieng, Standard] 

Experts have raised alarm over the poor state of county ambulances.

A task force formed by the county government to identify gaps in the county's health sector found out that lives are lost due to lack of swift emergency response and lack of basic life supporting machines in the available ambulances.

Former National Chief Nursing Officer Chris Rakuom said the county lacks well-equipped ambulances.

“The few available ambulances are simply moving vehicles ferrying a sick person from one health facility to another but have no life-saving facilities,” said Rakuom.

County Director of Health Dickens Onyango said the county has 14 ambulances, with one that is well equipped stationed at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital.

"The rest are equipped with basic life support with a first aid kit, oxygen cylinder and stretcher to help offer basic care while patient is on transit,” said Onyango.

He further revealed that plans are underway to purchase three ambulances with advances life support machine in the next financial year at a cost of Sh20 million.

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But yesterday, Dr Rakuom revealed that patients on referral are charged for ambulance services.

“The vehicles ferrying patients are inadequate. Needy cases have to wait for a long time before one vehicle comes to their rescue,” said Rakuom.

He cited the ambulance in Muhoroni sub-county which serves Koru Dispensary, Chemelil Health Centre, Nyangoma sub-county hospital up to Kopere among many other areas.

A medical doctor at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital, Dr Gabriel Ouma, said ambulances operating in hospitals across the county are compromising patients’ safety because they are dilapidated and have poor response times. 

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