, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 3 – St John Ambulance Kenya on Monday announced that it had embarked on a nationwide expansion programme that will see it put up 47 offices in all the counties.
Chairman Marsden Madoka said the plan which is spread out over a period of five years would also see the Non Governmental Organisation increase its overall fleet of ambulances in all the regions.
It currently has 14 ambulances with nine covering Nairobi, two in Mombasa and one each for Kisumu, Nakuru and Kakamega.
"We really need to improve on these ambulances to make sure that we have everything possible to be able to save lives when it is necessary. We are therefore working on improving our fleet because all regions would like to have an ambulance," he explained.
Chief Commissioner Eliakim Masale on his part asked the government to ensure that all drivers and conductors of Public Service Vehicles (PSVs) were qualified in facilitating first-aid in case of emergencies.
"We are also saying that the matatu industry should ensure that either the driver or the conductor is a trained first aider. And so we are working with the government to try and persuade it to make it mandatory for them to be first aid certified before getting their PSV licenses," he said.
He also asked Kenyans to volunteer as trainers and staff for the NGO in order to facilitate its works.
Speaking during a courtesy call by the Lord Prior of the Order of St John, Prof Anthony Mellows, Mr Madoka noted that the NGO\’s plans were at risk of being derailed due to financial constraints.
He explained that St John would seek donations from the government as well as Kenyans in order to secure its projects.
Prof Mellows further urged private companies to fund NGOs as part of their corporate social responsibility.
"One also hopes that government funding will be available because if St John was not doing its work the government would have to provide alternative solutions which would be a costly affair," he explained.
Other than writing to corporate societies to solicit for funds, St John organizes golf tournaments as well as annual flag days when its staff goes out with tills asking for monetary support.
In Kenya, St John Ambulance runs a programme in various prisons where the prisoners are trained in first aid.
"When such persons come out of prison, they stand a better chance of getting some sort of job and are better placed than those who received no training," argued Prof Mellows.
St. John was established in 1884 to look after people who were sick and poor during pilgrimages to Jerusalem.
Prof Mellows is third in command in the St John order after the Sovereign Head (Queen Elizabeth II) and the Grand Prior- Duke of Gloucester.
Prof Mellows also acts as the Lieutenant and deputy to the Grand Prior.