The year 2020 started with various vehicle repairs and brought us the experience that we have to equip ourselves a bit harder for the mission in Uganda. We learned that we need at least a 7.5 tonne winch on the vehicles and that vehicle protectors need a separate support frame. We also had to strengthen our ambient lighting with LED spotlights.
At the end of January, we moved into the larger station near Entebbe Road and had the opportunity to set up treatment and patient rooms. Until the measures around the Corona pandemic slowed us down a bit at first. The planned training visits to Germany had to be cancelled, and the preliminary planning for the summer, including the planned training measures in Uganda, could not be carried out.
We concentrated on procuring medical equipment and vehicles and built them without further ado in Germany and not in Uganda. Problem solutions were now worked out on the computer and we learned to control the planning and execution of everything in Uganda remotely. Fortunately, only our training courses for the police in Uganda had to be cancelled. During this time, we developed solution concepts for many upcoming problems, such as fire protection planning, accommodation of the hydraulic recovery equipment and the conversion to raise the vehicles.
We procured off-road tyres for most of the vehicles, but were delayed by the shortage of materials. Nevertheless, we managed to convert four German Mercedes Benz emergency vehicles to meet the requirements in Uganda! We designed an aid and fire-fighting trailer based on an off-road Bundeswehr trailer and equipped it with a modern body from the company Ziegler. In addition, we equipped an off-road trailer from the Danish army with a diesel-powered generator for use in emergency rescue.
In Uganda, the most urgent task at this time was to help with basic food supplies such as rice, potatoes, oil and flour, as people do not have any reserves to survive a non-working period in a lockdown.
On 2nd October, the day the first flight was allowed to land at the reopened Entebbe Airport, we were back on site and immediately started to carry out repairs that were due with the spare parts we had brought from Germany and Spain. We were now also able to start upgrading the treatment rooms and emergency backpacks and repairing equipment with defective accumulators and putting them back into operation.
We received generous donations from medical-technology company Händler in Germany and were given two operating-room treatment chairs and a large steriliser! Personal protective equipment and various firefighting equipment was also donated by various fire brigades. This material and the vehicles will arrive in Uganda in early 2021 and will bring us a big step forward!
This year also showed all too clearly how important it is to equip the vehicles with powerful fire-fighting equipment. In two accidents, the rescue of the patients was only possible after successful extinguishing. The provision of three fire extinguishers per vehicle has proven itself in practice and is by no means an exaggeration.
At the end of the year, we were able to purchase a fully equipped BMW emergency doctor's motorbike with extensive equipment at an unusually good price! It will significantly improve our flexibility in the crowded streets of Uganda and opens up many new possibilities, which we will urgently need for the upcoming tasks in 2021.