Uganda has only 30 emergency physicians out of the required 425 experts according to Maria Nkalubo, the Health Ministry’s Senior Principal Operations Officer.
Nkalubo, who was speaking Friday at the Road Safety Symposium organized by Ministry of Works and Transport in collaboration with Road Safety Coalition Uganda (ROSACU) said emergency care services are still lacking in terms of personnel and equipment.
She clarified that a person’s survival following a road crash relies heavily on efficiently coordinated emergency services—from the immediate evacuation at the scene, the condition of the ambulance during transportation, to the expertise of the attending medical professionals.
Uganda lost 4,534 people in 2022 in road crashes compared to 4,159 in 2021. Last year’s figures mean the daily road crash deaths increased from 11 people per day to 12. More than 15,000 people sustained serious and minor injuries thus leaving many incapacitated as a result of permanent physical and mental injuries.
Winston Katushabe, the commissioner in charge of transport regulation and road safety who represented Minister Edward Katumba Wamala and ROSACU Chairman Fred Tumwine said road safety requires everyone’s involvement because the lives lost have a direct impact on families and economy at large.
Katushabe reminded Ugandans that the country loses over 4.4 trillion shillings as a result of road crashes whereby costs are incurred in repairing damaged road infrastructure as well as treating victims of such eventualities.
Nkalubo reinforced Katushabe’s 4.4 trillion costs citing examples of amount of money Mulago hospital is spending on neurosurgical patients who are mostly bodaboda riders and their passengers involved in road crashes.
She said on minor treatment and surgery, the government spends over 1.5 million shillings on each patient but that amounts shoots to 10 -15 million shillings for neurosurgical injuries which strains the ministry of health’s coffers.
Nkalubo also expressed concern that out of every 100 road crash patients admitted in Intensive Care Unit (ICU) 47% of them die because of the severity of the injuries. SP Michael Kananura the traffic police spokesperson and SP Pamela Kentaro the traffic directorate investigation officer said indiscipline and impunity on the roads are the reasons for the high fatality and serious injuries rates.