Red Cross Craves Ambulance Service Extension

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LNRCS ambulances at its headquarters in Monrovia.

The Liberia National Red Cross Society (LNRCS) is craving the extension of its ambulance service that has for the past seven months transported the sick in Monrovia and its immediate environs to other parts of the country. The initiative seeks to provide transportation services to sick people, who are in need of medical attention, especially emergencies to nearby health facilities.

Supported by the Empress Shoken Fund with a grant of US$30,000, the LNRCS also said it has ‘performed diligently’ and can boast of meeting its Ambulance Performance Target (APT) only if the service is extended to other parts of the country.

In July, 2018, LNRCS submitted a proposal, and received funding support of US$30,000 from the Empress Shoken Fund through the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) to operate a ten-month ‘free ambulance service’ in Monrovia.

The service has since been freely available, and accessible to everyone everywhere in Monrovia—whether day or night.

But the LNRCS on Monday, January 21, 2019, released update on the project with a call to safeguard its future operation.

“Today, we are pleased to announce that over the past six months, significant progress has been made in safely getting the sick to health facilities through our ambulance team that has responded to 31 cases, including accident, and women in labor. Among these cases were 13 males and 18 females in Monrovia,” Red Cross Secretary General, Saybah Tamba, said at the opening of a training workshop for volunteers of the project.

The LNRCS, Mrs. Tamba said, has responded to several critical cases, saving lives and reducing the impacts of injuries.

“But unfortunately,” according to the project timeline, “this public service funding will come to an end by April this year, and the need to continue this service is critical; so we will find ourselves in a struggle to maintain it.”

Mrs. Tamba added: “At this moment, we are seriously concerned and eagerly looking forward for new partnership with public, private and corporate entities to sustain this service, because we are further ready for co-branding, and extending the service beyond Monrovia once we receive the much-needed support to continue.”

LNRCS Secretary General Saybah Tamba.

She expressed the hope that support will be available in 2019 to ensure that ordinary people rely on the Red Cross ambulance to seek quick medical treatment.

“We want an extension of this project, which has been of great help to our people who find it very difficult to transport their relatives and friends to nearby health facilities whenever they fall sick,” she said.

She said access to ambulance service at night has been a big challenge, and many people often use commercial and private vehicles, motorbikes and tricycles (keh-keh) to transfer their sick, including pregnant women, to nearby medical facilities, which sometimes delay and further endanger the lives of the patients.

The LNRCS says that it does not want any delays in responding to those who face real emergencies and could have problems saving their lives—an effort that complements efforts of the government.

For now, the emergency numbers are 1155 for Orange-Liberia, and 1919 for MTN-Liberia.

Mrs. Tamba lauded the collaboration with authorities at the Ministry of Health in meeting the health needs of ordinary people.

Meanwhile, Monday’s training was part of the effort to improve this public service, and encourage team members to take it seriously.

“Your commitment and voluntary service in this capacity has not gone unnoticed. Thanks to the National Public Health Institute for the collaboration in conducting this training,” she said.

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