The Bo Children’s Hospital is located some 3km from the centre of Bo, on the main road to Freetown (the national capital). With an estimated local population of about 200,000, of which only a minor proportion (10%) have personal or family vehicles, a large number of people depend on commercial motor bikes for their daily transportation. Most of the patients who visit the hospital use this form of transport to access our services and also to return home. The mothers carry the children on their laps without any protection and are many times under some degree of stress. If an accident occurs, the situation gets very much more complicated. The objective of this proposal is to reduce the burden and risk associated with this type of transportation for both the mothers (care givers) and the children. At present the hospital’s second-hand six-seater minivan is used for transportation of non-critical patients and also for staff transportation.
However, this vehicle, which was bought because it was far cheaper (US$ 8,000) than any of the others available to the committee at the time, is unreliable and causes frequent disruption to patient and staff movement. It is also not expected to be road-worthy for another year. It is proposed therefore that two vehicles be provided for the hospital. An ambulance will be primarily used to transport urgently sick children (and their mothers) from their houses in Bo or outlying villages to the hospital. Medical staff (on call or other duty) will also use it. The ambulance will serve to reduce response time and provide preliminary resuscitation, thereby helping to save lives.