Save the Children has donated two boat ambulances to the Ministry of Health in Puntland to support the ministry’s efforts in increasing access to health facilities for communities in coastal towns of Bari regionparticularlypregnant women and children.
The boat ambulances handed over to the government on Tuesday are first of its kind in the area designed specifically to address the existing challenge of access to health care services for majority of Bari region residents. The boat ambulance will beused to transfer patients, particularly pregnant women with complications andsick children to the nearest regional hospital in Bossaso for specialised care and treatment.
People living in Hafun, Banderbayla, Bargaal and Qandalatowns have been having challenges accessing specialized health care due to the bad conditions of the road which would take anything between eight to 36 hours depending on the area.
The shortest route from the coastal town is by sea but the communities did not have reliable means of transport for transferring sick people to the hospital. A boat ride to Bossasowill reduce the time to a minimum of 45 minutes instead of eight and six hours instead of 36.
“A lot of mothers lost their lives on the way to the hospital because of the deadly road trip. We had to find a creative way to shorten the time to reach a specialized facility. That is why we came up with the idea of a Boat Ambulance,” said AbdiqafarElmiHange, Save the Children Representative for Puntaland. We are hopingthis boat ambulance will support in saving lives ofpregnant mothers and their babies.’’
Apart from reducing the travel time, the boat was renovated to include all the facilities of an ambulance and patients will be able to receive first aid support as they are being transferred to the nearest hospital.
Minister of Health in Puntland,Dr. Abdinasir Osman Isse has welcomed this novel idea from Save the Children saying this is good example of partnerships between the government and development partners that is driven by the needs of the people.
“These kinds of initiatives and partnerships will enable us to save more lives particularly of pregnant women and new born children who are always at risk,” said Dr. Isse “We thank Save the Children for the donation and we are hoping for more stronger collaboration and support.
Somalia has one of the highest lifetime risks of maternal deaths in the world, with women facing a one in 22 lifetime risk of maternal death. The maternal mortality ratio is estimated at 732 deaths per 100,000 live births.
According to UNICEF reports, one out of every 12 women die due to pregnancy related causes. Access to maternal health services is low with 38 per cent of births in Puntland being attended by skilled attendants.
Save the Children has been providing health services to communities in Puntland since 2006. Last year alone, when the region was struggling following a severe drought, Save the Children reached more 1.6 million people with basic health and nutrition services.