Buikwe District, Central Uganda: MTN Uganda has through its Corporate Social Responsibility arm, the MTN Foundation, donated an Ambulance and emergency response boat to Kiyindi landing site in a bid to improve emergency response amidst the current health crises caused by Covid-19.

The 15 Seater state-of-the-art water rescue vessel will be used to respond to water transport and health emergencies in Buvuma and Buikwe districts among other areas served by the Kiyindi landing site.

The donation of the emergency boat follows a request from the fishing community last year when MTN Uganda staff visited Kiyindi landing site to launch their annual staff voluntary program dubbed “21 days of y’ello care”. The activities carried out that day included refurbishment of the Makonge health center, donation of four full sets of computers with internet connectivity and community cleaning.

The Kiyindi community requested for support to enhance water safety and emergency response. To that effect, MTN Uganda donated 100 life jackets and pledged a 15-seater water rescue boat. It is to serve as a rescue boat and also respond to medical referral cases in the area.

The modern water emergency rescue vessel worth Ush 52 Million is made of fibre glass, provided with a waterproof canopy and cushion seats. It has a Yamaha outboard engine DT 40, anchor, 2 oars, fire extinguisher, 5 life buoys, first aid box and patient stretcher. It was made by Fisheries Training Institute, Entebbe and licensed by Ministry of Works and Transport.

While handing over the emergency rescue boat at an event held at the Kiyindi landing site, Mr Patrick Tusiime, the Regional commercial head expressed his concerns about health emergencies and water safety in the area and MTN Uganda’s commitment towards reaching out to the communities within which they operate.

“We understand that water transport is the only way people in this area can access the islands and the main land and this comes with challenges. As MTN Uganda, we have honored our pledge of providing the residents of this area with an emergency rescue boat,” Mr  Tusiime said, adding that the boat will help respond to emergency health referral cases in the areas served by the Kiyindi landing site.

The Kiyindi-Buvuma route currently has one ferry that carries 120 passengers and 8 cars, making three trips each day between Kiyindi landing site in Buikwe district and Kirongo landing site in Buvuma district. This therefore makes it hard for the ferry to cater for emergencies that may not resonate with its schedule.

The boat was handed over to Ms Jane Frances Kagaia, the Resident District Commissioner of Buikwe who will entrust it with the District Health Officer to oversee its usage. She thanked MTN Uganda for heeding to the request of the people of Buvuma and the surrounding areas.

“I thank MTN Uganda for giving us this emergency rescue boat. Here travelling by water is almost inevitable and like all forms of transport, we encounter situations that require the services of an emergency rescue or response boat. This will ensure water transport safety for our residents and visitors as they travel between the mainland and the islands.” Kagaia said.

To enhance water safety, MTN Uganda last year donated 100 life jackets and commissioned a 24 hour rescue communication line in Kiyindi to respond to the soaring numbers of water transport emergencies in Buikwe and Buvuma districts.

Last year still, MTN donated 550 customized solar kits to 9 schools and 3 health centers in Buvuma under its “Light up a Village” project in order to boost education and health services in the off-grid Island.

MTN Uganda remains committed to improving lives of the communities within which it operates while championing the true delivery of a bold and bright world.