How to Access Emergency Medical Services

  • An ambulance headed to deliver emergency services.
    An ambulance headed to deliver emergency services.
    Daily Nation
  • "I'm seated outside the emergency section of this hospital in Nairobi, waiting for an ambulance to bring in my Dad. He had fallen suddenly ill, and I rushed him to the nearest hospital which ruled that he has to be transferred immediately," said a frustrated Kevin Otiende, on his social media post.

    "I give them my preference, and they call the hospital to check bed availability, but no one picks up the phone. I can't wait so I decide to rush there myself, and find the hospital overwhelmed. Other family members are there too, begging for space," continued Otiende, whose father was finally attended to after visiting three hospitals.

    His case is replicated across the country as many do not know what to do in case of an emergency that requires immediate medical attention.

    Surgeons at Kenyatta National Hospital performing a surgery
    Surgeons performing surgery on a patient.

    Below are details of 

    How do you request the services of an ambulance?

    In case of a medical emergency, one should call 999 which is a toll-free number for emergency services.

    What are the ambulance charges in Kenya?

    Ambulance services in Nairobi cost Ksh5,500, on average, which caters for attendance to the patient by the paramedical team as well as transporting them to their preferred hospital.

    Does NHIF cover ambulance services?

    National Hospital Insurance Fund(NHIF) covers ambulance services following its partnership with Kenya Red Cross Society Services (KRCS).

    For access to this service, a member of NHIF should call 1199 (toll-free) 0r 0700395395.

    What are the types of ambulances one can access?

    Emergency ambulance – this is the most common type of ambulance that provides care for patients with acute illness or injury.

    Patient transport ambulance – this type is meant for transporting patients to and from different hospitals or dialysis centers.

    Ambulance bus – this is a large ambulance, usually based upon a bus chassis, that can evacuate and transport a large number of patients.

    Bariatric ambulance- this is a special type of patient transport ambulance that is designed for extremely obese patients and equipped with the appropriate tools to move and manage these patients.

    Rapid organ recovery ambulance - this type of ambulance collects the bodies of people who have died suddenly from heart attacks, accidents and other emergencies and try to preserve their organs.

    What are the three basic emergency action steps?

    Check-Call-Care- in this step, check the scene where the emergency has occurred to ensure the victim or yourself are not in any danger, call the local emergency number to alert them of the emergency and take care of the victim until the help arrives.

    Check the scene and the victim- have a look at the place where the medical assistance is required as well as the victim to ensure they don't suffer any more injuries.

    Call the local emergency number to activate the EMS system-here, call the local emergency number to alert them.

    Inside a ward at Uthiru Hospital
    Inside a ward at Uthiru Hospital.
    accident died