Boat ambulance to help save lives around Lake Kivu

A boat ambulance worth $500,000 (Rwf300 million) has officially been launched on Lake Kivu, Karongi District, to ease access to health facilities, especially during emergency situations.
The boat is expected to save the thousands of lives and reduce infant and maternal mortality.  The New Times/Courtsey.
The boat is expected to save the thousands of lives and reduce infant and maternal mortality. The New Times/Courtsey.

A boat ambulance worth $500,000 (Rwf300 million) has officially been launched on Lake Kivu, Karongi District, to ease access to health facilities, especially during emergency situations.

The boat is expected to save thousands of lives and reduce infant and maternal mortality.

According to the Minister of Health,  Dr Agnes Binagwaho, the ambulance is a fulfillment of a promise by President Kagame to  the islanders.

She appealed to the beneficiaries to rationally use it.

Free for Mutuelle subscribers

“This ambulance will help patients and pregnant mothers as well as accident victims to access health care services,” said Binagwaho, adding that patients covered by Mutuelle de santé (Community Health Insurance Scheme) will not pay transport costs for the ambulance.

“It is free of charge for patients covered by Mutuelle de santé,” Binagwaho clarified.

The ambulance will link and ease access to health facilities from Iwawa, Bugarura and Nkombo islands on Lake Kivu to Kibuye, Gisenyi, Kibogora, Kirinda, Mugonero, Gihundwe, and Gisenyi district hospitals in the Western Province.

The boat has a capacity of transporting six patients in emergency situations, and has three drivers and two nurses trained to handle emergency situations.

“I am happy about this initiative, the ambulance will ease access to health facilities, especially for us mothers and children that usually need urgent means of transport when in critical conditions,” said Chantal Nyiraneza, a resident of Karongi District.

According to Thomas Ntakuvuganeza, the head of Cyimbili Health Centre in Rutsiro District, in less than 30 minutes patients in critical conditions can be taken to nearby district hospitals for immediate attention.

“Before, it was difficult to help pregnant mothers and other critically ill people who live in islands in Lake Kivu to be rescued but now they can be saved in less than 30 minutes,” Ntakuvuganeza said.

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