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Ambulance Tracking Tool Helps Improve Coordination of Emergency Service Vehicles in Uganda


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To understand how these ambulances are being used and what other steps could be taken to improve emergency service delivery, Pulse Lab Kampala developed a digital application called Cheetah Tracker. The tool, implemented with the Ministry of Health and Enabel, Belgium’s Development Agency, uses Global Positioning Systems (GPS) data to provide analytics on transport-related aspects of health service delivery through a user-friendly dashboard and SMS/email alerts.

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Ambulance Tracking Tool Helps Improve Coordination of Emergency Service Vehicles in Uganda

  1. 1. The application allows the real-time tracking of vehicles and generates reports and alerts on the use of public ambulances in West Nile and Rwenzori. Good practices and results are determined by a set of performance indicators defined by the Ministry of Health and district-level partners. Prior to the regional introduction of the GPS application, Pulse Lab Kampala launched a beta version in Kampala. Data generated from the trial (software was installed in two ambulances and six other vehicles in Kampala) enabled the Lab to design and run the software, customizing it specifically for the Ministry of Health. GPS systems were installed in 26 ambulances in West Nile and Rwenzori and SIM cards provide high-speed and secure data transmission. This means end-users can track each ambulance in real-time and determine specifics about the vehicle: like the amount of fuel used or the top speed reached, or how the ambulance was used and in what manner. REAL-TIME PERFORMANCE MONITORING AMBULANCE APPLICATION FOR IMPROVING PUBLIC SERVICE DELIVERY IN UGANDA In Uganda, it is common for women to die during labour because they have no help at home or cannot reach a health facility in time. As a response, the Government of Belgium donated ambulances to medical facilities in the Rwenzori and West Nile sub-regions of Uganda, providing pregnant women with access to transportation and assistance so they can reach the hospital in time and have a safe delivery. To compliment these efforts, the Government of Belgium, Pulse Lab Kampala, the Ugandan Ministry of Health, Enabel and United Nations partners, developed a pilot application that monitors and evaluates in real-time how ambulances are used. Often, vehicles move goods they shouldn’t, park for long hours at non-health facilities, or transport people who aren’t ill. Global Positioning Systems (GPS) trackers are installed in the vehicles to provide real-time analytics on these aspects of health service delivery.
  2. 2. My first impression of the application was “efficiency;” in terms of using limited resources for effect service delivery in Uganda. It has the potential to improve the accessibility of ambulance services in hard to reach locations. Other possible benefits include cost effectiveness in rural health facilities and saving the lives of people who use the ambulance service, especially mothers and children. Knowing where the ambulance is, the speed drives at and what time is an amazing initiative. We hope it will help in the effective coordination of our emergency vehicles and services. Ms. Maria N. Nkalubo – Principal Operations Officer, EMS at Ministry of Health of Uganda After seeing the software in action, district and national health officials started to work closely with Pulse Lab Kampala on the creation of updated versions of the ambulance application in order to track all emergency vehicles in districts across Uganda. Provided enough resources are secured, other potential uses of the application include adding new SMS alerts for district staff and health officials. This will allow them to receive a text message in real-time to report on the status and usage of the ambulances. HOW THE APPLICATION WORKS SCALING UP THE APPLICATION ” EARLY WARNING Alerts are generated when an ambulance is misused. The alert allows for immediate action by observers. EVALUATION The software generates reports on the use of ambulance for any time frame, as selected by the end-user. MONITORING Medical staff and those in charge of dispatching ambulances can know the exact position of the vehicle, at all times. A flagship initiative of the United Nations Secretary-General on Big Data, Global Pulse envisions a future where data is harnessed safely and responsibly. Global Pulse and its labs are accelerating the innovation, development and adoption of Big Data for sustainable development and humanitarian action. New York Kampala Jakarta