Ambulances, Finally (Part 1)

It was my lovely predecessor, Marieke, who started off the process of buying the motorbike ambulances.  Now we have 2. 

Last week 3 women gave birth on the road on the way to the hospital.  That’s not good.  We would not accept it in the “west”, why should ladies here have to go through that pain, risk and indignity?  They shouldn’t.

As well as pregnant women we have our fair share of accidents, emergencies, grave sicknesses and old people here too, many of whom are too weak to walk to the hospital, up to 20km away.  And back again the same day of course.

So, awesome idea, ambulances……..

Enter E-ranger, maker of ambulances, easy right, buy, import, support, oh no, not so easy!

Enter alfandiga (customs), bureaucracy, processes, money, more bureaucracy and some jobsworths in the middle.  That was fun.  With a little help from our friends the ambulances finally arrived at Guludo last week, 5 months after they were paid for with some obligatory comedy (the boat came to Mozambique from Durban via the Canary Islands if the original bill of loading was to be believed, we think they just came on a different boat but I was somewhat surprised when trying to track the boat to see it docking in Grand Canaria!) and some very obligatory bureaucratic moments.  

After a bit of fiddling by a mechanic in Pemba, the bikes run nicely and were loaded onto a big truck for their Passage to Guludo.

Arranged with the help of another of my lovely predecessors, neither of us could look as the ambulances were manhandled onto the truck.  She’s fortunate not to see how they came off at the other end……

So, here they are, potentially lifesaving pieces of equipment.  We’ve tested them out with the team as drivers and patients and they go along the roads pretty well, it’s actually quite impressive, once Manuel got the hang of driving anyway:  it’s not good to do something so publically, so badly, but the circles that he made to start off with proved the turning circle of the bikes is good! 

Still to properly introduce them to the community, tomorrow: driver tests, more to come on that.

We’ve committed to supporting them for 2 years, including fuel and drivers, and we think this is a great intervention that will greatly enhance the potential to reach medical care in a reasonable timeframe and save lives.

Of course, the budget has already been exceeded (TIA) due to our favourite alfandegas.  If anyone has a little change in their pocket and feels that it could help us in this endeavour please donate through our website:  http://www.nemafoundation.org/