The Ambulance Crisis


 The tragic news came by email - In early June I received the following email from Sister Rosemary at Lubwe Mission Hospital:

Dear Martin,
I just want to inform you that today we are not luck as an Institution. Our White Vehicle has been involved in an accident killing one person, whom the driver wanted to avoid, the vehicle is badly damaged. We are very sad. Well pray for us. It happened this morning when the driver escorted Dr. Mwila at the Samfya cross road (Musaila) now on his way back.
Sr. Rosemary.                                      
 ….and from Dr Mwila,

Thanks for the mail, I have been busy off late and have not been able to read mails, the accident has upset the hospital running. The vehicle to start with went with me to Samfya for the usual visits after which I proceeded to Lusaka for official duties. The driver was then asked to return to Lubwe and on his way he overturned three times in the process killing a pedestrian (whilst swerving to avoid another). Unfortunately the vehicle only had third party insurance.
The assessment of the vehicle is beyond repair. The chassis and suspension is okey.
Thus any assistance in this area will be appreciated as currently we do not have a reliable ambulance. (ZAMBIAN WAY OF SAYING NO AMBULANCE). Waiting to hear from you, Dr Mwila.

The cost of repair (new body etc.) of the old ambulance was estimated to be £25,000, as much as the cost of a new one. They do not have enough money for drugs and medical equipment, so this was a major disaster for the thousands of people in the area. Mike Brozel and I promised them that we would help, without knowing how.

In the past patients have been transported in wheelbarrows, pushed on bicycles tied together with sticks, or carried on makeshift stretchers up to 20 kilometres. Now many people would never make it to the Mission Hospital at all!

With the help of many wonderful people, a brand new Ambulance was delivered to Lubwe Mission Hospital just a few months later, saving lives every day since. Thank you and God bless all who helped.


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