EMS 118 ambulance underutilised

EMS 118 ambulance underutilised

Blantyre, September 29, Mana: Health authorities in Blantyre have bemoaned underutilisation of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) ambulances placed to assist road accidents as well as natural disaster injured victims.

EMS provider Junia Bamusi Kazembe said this during an EMS local awareness meeting on Wednesday.

The EMS pilot project launched in 2017 with funding from World Bank with an aim of making sure that road accident victims along the M1 road are attended to on the same spot before being taken to the nearest district or central hospital.

Kazembe then urged residents of the district to call the toll free 188 line whenever an accident occurs not only to ensure that people’s lives are saved but also to make sure that the project extends to other district for them to benefit as well.

“For a long time people have thought the 118 ambulance was private and that is why we thought of engaging the local authorities as well as Red Cross volunteers among others so they help us spread the message that the EMS is free of charge and they can call anytime of the day. We are always set,” said Kazembe.

She also added that “This month we have only been called twice and yet road accidents along the M1 road are on the rise. This shows that the people are not making use of the important service which is there to save lives.”

On his part, Senior Group Village Headman Nthache of Traditional Authority (TA) Chigaru in the district described the meeting as an eye-opener since he was blank about the project.

He then assured to call for a meeting with his subjects to notify them on the project and how best they can utilise it.

“I am glad that government came up with this project. All along I thought the ambulance was private and I believe if I had known its purpose, then my community would have utilised it fully. All the same my subjects will be called for a meeting on the same,” said Nthache.

Government introduced the EMS pilot phase through the 1 Roads Authority in 2017 to minimise deaths due to road accidents, targeting districts along the M1 such as Dedza, Ntcheu, Balaka, Neno, Lilongwe as well as Blantyre. 

Each district was allocated an ambulance containing drips, gas, POP as well as bandages.

 According to Kazembe, about 10 members of staff from Blantyre were trained including first aid volunteers who were also provided with first aid kits and mobile phones to ease communication in times of emergency.