In rural areas of Africa, the lack of affordable medical transport is a constraint. Ambulances are expensive to acquire and operate. The availability of appropriate and affordable transportation would generally benefit rural communities in improving access to health facilities for all emergency illnesses and accidents.
Getting to a hospital in Kenya can be a nightmare as most of the ambulances are owned by private companies and take at least 2 hours to arrive. Traditional ambulances, for example, the Toyota Landcruiser are expensive to buy and maintain. In government-funded schemes, the initial cost of the ambulances, fuel and operator costs are covered but the response to repair and maintenance are the main barriers to reliable and sustainable services due to inadequate funding and the lack of effective procedures. Heal ME can use refurbished equipment if needed to reduce unwanted costs.
Apart from these costs, an ambulance trip isn’t affordable for the patient. If a person refuses transport due to high costs, it’s their choice. All emergency medical service providers should assist with life-threatening situations, even where patients can’t pay for the treatment.
An Uber for ambulances app has been launched in Africa called Flare. When they started the response time in Nairobi within the city was approximately 3 hours. Today, by aggregating and enabling existing ambulance teams onto our platform, the response time is around 10 to 15 minutes and as fast as 4 minutes.
On March 15, 2021, the Rwanda government addressed the ambulance shortage issue. The ratio of ambulances in Rwanda is 1 for every 45,715 citizens. The expense for the ambulance service is covered by the Community Health Insurance (CBHI) – Mutuelle de Santé. Presently, the cost for an ambulance is Rwf400 (about 34 euro cents) per kilometre for CBHI members. The patient pays 10% while the health insurance covers 90%.
The Middle East has the largest vehicle stockpiles and hence it is easier to find the right vehicle at affordable prices. HealME tries to provide the best solutions at minimal cost for all medical supply services by working with new as well used vehicles.