Residents of Bujagali village in Budondo Sub County in Jinja District were thrilled by a modified bicycle as an alternative ambulance to assist in transportation of sick patients to health centres.
The bicycle ambulance was donated to the community by First African Bicycle Information Organization (FABIO) Non-Government Organisation in Jinja, to assist in transporting expectant mothers and sick persons who need ambulance services on Saturday.
Mr John Mugulusi Kanakulya head of the Village Health Teams in Budondo said using bicycle as ambulances in the rural area will save many lives of expectant mothers during this pandemic lockdown period as there are limited means of transport.
Mr Mugulusi said even before coronavirus pandemic expectant mothers in the area were facing challenges of transporting themselves to health centres and hospitals to deliver.
"During this lockdown, we have used the bicycle ambulance to transport expectant mothers and 20 mothers have successfully given birth in this one month. When you call for a vehicle ambulance, they don't respond in time and yet this is time for life and death", said Mr Mugulusi.
Ms Victoria Muwanguzi, an expectant mother and resident of Budondo said the idea of introducing a bicycle ambulance in the rural area is a good adventure because it is more comfortable than on boda-boda motorcycle although it requires manual ridding.
"As an expectant mother in this community, most of the times we face challenges to transport ourselves in the health centres when labour pain begins especially during this lockdown period. Boda-bodas don't want to take us even after knowing we need their services", said Ms Muwanguzi.
Ms Silvia Mukyala resident of Lwanda said government ambulance services are limited to particular patients and they don't respond in time of need.
About 20 bicycle ambulances have been distributed in Jinja and Iganga districts, according to FABIO.
Mr Patrick Kayemba, the founder of FABIO said there is need for government to consider planning bicycle lanes in newly created cities to avoid bicycle riders getting involved in accidents while competing with vehicles.
The each bicycle reportedly costs between shs250, 000 and shs300, 000.