On 6th August we were privileged to be visited by Dr Roger Neuberg, who is a Past President of the Rotary Club of Oadby and is the International Convenor for District 1070. Unfortunately, his visit coincided with the official visit of our District Governor – Richard Lees. Richard graciously gave up part of his allocated speaking time to permit Roger to update us regarding the eRanger Motorcycle Ambulance project.
Roger Neuberg has led a year-long campaign which has raised £62,000 - increased to £143,000 because he obtained Rotary grants - which will result in 32 e-Ranger Motorbike Ambulances being sent to Mbale, Uganda. He permitted the Rotary Club of Oban to join his effort and benefit from the associated Global Grant. Our ambulance will bear a plate showing that it was donated by the Rotary Club of Oban of District 1230, and District 1070 will be mentioned because we used its Global Grant. A photograph of our ambulance will appear here once the eRanger reaches Uganda.
Rotarian Roger Neuberg has helped thousands of people to become parents. He joined the Rotary Club of Oadby in 2007 and soon became chairman of the East Midlands International Service Committee.
At our meeting he described his voluntary work in Uganda and updated us regarding his project.
The survival of a woman in labour in Uganda depends upon the distance and time she must travel to get to skilled emergency medical care. Transportation may be unavailable, unaffordable or take too long.
If a woman in desperate need of assistance reaches a major health centre at all, the hours of delay can mean that it is too late to save her and her baby.
Is there a preferable alternative?
The eRanger Motorbike Ambulance! I am a Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist which explains my passionate interest in this. Through Rotary District 1070 in the UK, I launched the”Uganda eRanger Project” to provide a fleet of 30 eRanger Motorbike Ambulances for the one million people of Mbale town and district in Uganda. In 2011, the three districts of Mbale, Manafwa and Bududa each had one eRanger Motorbike Ambulance. In the first 11 months they were called out 1,000 times, 750 calls for women in labour and 250 for other emergencies such as children fitting from cerebral malaria. Without a doubt many lives were saved. Since then DFID (Department for International Development) will be providing a further 2 eRangers each year for 3 years. Just imagine what another 30 bikes will mean! They will be life transforming! On 19th November 2011, I joined a large Medical, Paramedic and administrative team with PONT (Partnerships Overseas Networking Trust) and travelled to Mbale in Uganda. PONT are officially twinned with Mbale.
Vital contacts were made with the Rotary Club of Mbale who had already agreed to be the “host club” in a Global Matching Grant application for 2012/13 for the fleet of 30 eRangers.
PONT are in partnership with the Welsh Ambulance Service and Kissito Healthcare International. Kissito have undertaken to cover the maintenance and running costs of the eRanger fleet through their charity.
While in Mbale, the medical team trained Community Health Promoters (CHIPS), Operational Level Health Workers (OPLs), Traditional Birth and Referral Attendants (TBRAs), Midwives and student Medical Officers. We worked on the Labour Ward, Accident & Emergency Department and Operating Theatres.
53 of the 87 Rotary clubs in District 1070, another UK Rotary club – (The Rotary Club of Oban), a school and private individuals, have raised US$80.000 for the “Uganda eRanger Project”. Through a Global Matching Grant this will provide a fund of US$200,000 for the entire project.
The majority of women who go into labour in Mbale district have no means of transport to one of the 69 government health facilities and hospitals.
The community at the health centre where each eRanger is to be based will develop a sense of ownership of the bike, as they will be required to construct a substantial lockable shelter. Each bike will keep a logbook of call-outs and this information will be fed back to the Rotary clubs and other donors. The bikes create an enormous sense of confidence. Through this project there is a real opportunity to change the lives of a million people and to give women in rural Mbale a real expectation of a future for themselves and their babies.