UGANDA – President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has launched Uganda’s first Marine Ambulances under the marine unit of the Ministry of Health to provide emergency medical response assistance and services to populations on island areas.

The 12 well-equipped ambulances feature ventilators, surgery equipment, a team of paramedics and other necessary medical equipment to handle all emergencies and provide aid to residents living in Buvuma Island County alongside Kalangala and Amolatar districts.

They will also offer medical services to other districts including Mukono, Ntoroko, Serere, Amolatar, Jinja, Obongi, Mayuge, Namayingo, Kabale and Kumi.

The ambulance services come at a time when mothers have been dying in passenger boats trying to get to the landing sites since the lands do not have any hospital because island districts don’t have hospital status.

The ambulances will improve the state of healthcare on the islands which will ultimately make the provision of health care to island people cheaper while minimizing the levels of referral.

The Marines Brigade will also train Ministry of Health officials to man the ambulances on water and the marine ambulances will be operated by Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) and police officers at the moment.

Subsequently, the health ministry will provide emergency medical personnel while the ministries of Defence, Works and Internal Affairs will facilitate operations such as licensing, inspection and maintenance.

President Museveni said that he had commissioned the Marine Ambulances to be available for all Ugandans to strengthen emergency care services on the country’s water bodies, noting that there was serious gap in emergency services.

He further acknowledged the Ministry of Health and development partners namely GAVI, Global Fund and UNICEF for providing funding for some of the water ambulances which will be deployed to districts with islands or near water bodies.

Vaccine Giant Sinovac plans to launch a manufacturing plant in Uganda

Meanwhile, President Museveni revealed that Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac Biotech plans to establish a vaccine manufacturing plant in Uganda following talks with the company’s representatives.

The vaccine and biotech centre will be for use by Uganda and East Africa at large. With this centre, we shall achieve vaccine security and independence for both Uganda and the region. I support this idea and welcome them,” the President announced.

Museveni further reaffirmed that Sinovac is one of the companies authorized by the World Health Organization (WHO) to manufacture and distribute COVID-19 vaccines.

Moreover, WHO validated the Sinovac-CoronaVac COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use in June 2021 which gave countries, funders, procuring agencies and communities the assurance that it meets international standards for safety, efficacy and manufacturing.

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