The Boda Boda for Life Project has hit a snag affecting the community's access to health centres
The Boda Boda for Life Project in Kyenjojo district has hit a snag. The project uses boda boda taxis to ferry patients in need of urgent treatment to hospitals and health centers.
It was initiated by students of the University of California who while on a study tour in the district in 2009, discovered that Kyenjojo Health Centre I V did not have an ambulance at that time. The cost of the project was shillings 200 million every year.
Ten selected boda boda motorists from each of the thirteen sub counties were trained in First Aid skills to enable them deal with simple emergency issues in the field and were also provided with a First Aid box and a green jacket so that they can easily be identified by the community.
However, the project is at verge of collapsing. The motorists are blaming the district health department for failing the project.
According to the project, the health department was supposed to give 10,000 shillings to a boda boda rider who transports a patient to any health centre; however the cyclists say that they have not received money for over five months.
Frank Akuliga and Enock Ahuura, both boda boda cyclists in Kyenjojo town say that they abandoned the project because they do not have money for fuel. Ahuura says that since December last year, whenever they used to go to the department to collect the money, they were turned away.
Akuliga says that the department owes him 100,000 shillings for transporting patients to health centers.
However Richard Mucunguzi, the Kyenjojo district health officer denies claims that the department intentionally stopped paying the riders. He says that the project was halted because funds for this year have not been sent by University of California.
Mucunguzi says that the department can not use its funds to pay the riders because the project is not budgeted for. The halt of the project has affected some of the people who had viewed it as a solution in accessing health care.
Gerald Sabiiti, a resident of Nyakawanzi town centre says that it is unfortunate the project has stalled. Sabiiti says it was a convenient way to transport the sick.
Sabiiti says that the rider transported his wife to hospital and she arrived on time to deliver. He says that the district local government should budget for the project in the 2011/2012 financial year.
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Chris Mugenyi, the doctor in charge of Kyenjojo Health Centre IV says that the project was crucial during emergencies because the health centre Ambulance broke down and there are no plans yet to repair it.
boda boda riders
kyenjojo health centre