Bridget Mpande
3 minute read
26 Nov 2020
10:47 am

Mpumalanga spends R35 million on new ambulances

Bridget Mpande

Premier Refilwe Mtshweni-Tsipane unveiled 67 much-needed ambulances worth R35 million on Friday at Mbombela Stadium.

Photo for illustrative purposes. Picture: supplied.

The premier said the new fleet will add to patient transport efficiency, safety and reliability, and contribute to the provision of efficient emergency healthcare services across the province.

“In order to improve the quality of our emergency healthcare services, we have decided to invest in 67 new ambulances. By doing so we will be in a position to reduce the mortality rate by improving the quality of emergency services provided during what is referred to as ‘the golden hour period’, wherein victims of accidents and trauma can be stabilised.

“More often than not, this period determines whether a patient survives or succumbs to their injuries. The availability of modern analysis equipped with the latest medical kits and technology will enable our EMS staff to get to accident scenes faster and to treat people more effectively,” Mtshweni-Tsipane explained.

“Our investment in these ambulances will also greatly assist the seamless coordination of healthcare services between our 37 permanent EMS stations, our five satellite stations, three EMS communication centres and all healthcare facilities across the province.”

Mtshweni-Tsipane said they invested R35 million in ensuring that these vehicles are equipped with technology so patients can be treated at intermediate life support level.

“The cost is not for the vehicles only, it includes the equipment inside. It is modern technology that is used and resuscitate our people before they reach the special areas of attention,” she said. “The 67 ambulances will join the fleet of 98 active ambulances. They will be distributed across the three districts for use by a total of 883 emergency care officials.

As we all know, we are now heading into the festive season. Most of our people will be travelling and we cannot rule out the possibility of accidents on our roads. These emergency medical vehicles will be of assistance to personnel so that they reach patients within reasonable time.” MEC for health, Sasekani Manzini, said Friday was a wonderful day for the Department of Health.

“We previously did not have a director of EMS. Today, you could hear from the director of EMS, Nkateko Sithole, that we are indeed moving in the right direction,” she said. Last year, Manzini presented 35 new ambulances and 15 forensic pathology response vehicles to emergency medical services.

Mpumalanga DA leader, Jane Sithole, said the party welcomed the long-awaited 67 ambulances. “There is no doubt that they will significantly reduce response times to distressed calls, especially around our rural municipalities such as Thembisile Hani and Dr JS Moroka, Nkomazi and Bushbuckridge.

“Incidents such as the one where a three-year-old child died while waiting for an ambulance last week could be prevented if response time to emergencies is reduced.

“In April 2019, Manzini said a total of 178 ambulances were operational to respond to any emergencies in the province. However, this meant that in 12 months, the department’s fleet decreased dramatically from 178 to 33, a shocking 81 per cent reduction. Upon enquiry, we did not receive answers regarding the whereabouts of the 145 vehicles. The DoH also lost two of the brand-new ambulances bought in October 2019,” Sithole explained. Immediately after the event, the emergency personnel left with the ambulances.

This article was republished from Mpumalanga News with permission 

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