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By Citizen Reporter


WATCH: Eastern Cape health dept launches ‘Scooter Project’ mobile clinic

The mobile clinic will transport patients or deliver medication in rural communities in the province.

Minister of Health Zweli Mkhize has announced the launch of the emergency medical services (EMS) ‘Scooter Project’ in Eastern Cape which will transport patients or deliver medication in rural communities in the province amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

During his two-day visit to Butterworth, Mthatha and Libode, in the Eastern Cape, on Thursday and Friday, the minister praised the launch of the project, describing it as “extremely versatile”.

The project comes after Health MEC Sindiswa Gomba announced budget and policy speech in May that the province was working on launching the EMS scooters programme.

Mkhize said: “Today, we launch the Scooter Project in Eastern Cape. These multi-purpose units are extremely versatile and can transport patients or deliver medication in rural communities.

“We have been introduced to the motorcycle project and want to congratulate the MEC for the initiatives…we believe this is a pioneering project. It can be converted to an ambulance or even a mobile clinic. This is the kind of innovation we would like to encourage across all provinces.”

Mkhize said although the current focus was at Covid-19, the project would strengthen South Africa’s healthcare system.

“We must use Covid-19 to improve our services as we move towards the National Health Insurance (NHI). The supply of chronic medication closer to people’s homes is a part of our plan. We are also starting a program to train healthcare workers to treat people with non communicable diseases.

“While we are concerned about Covid-19, there are other diseases out there that we must not neglect. The overall health of our people is important,” he added.

The minister further said 10,000 community health workers had been made available throughout the country for a program to treat people who suffer from diseases like diabetes.

He said the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) was already working on the fast-tracking of the agents that would be used to combat the virus.

“We have also noted that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has discouraged the use of chloroquine.

Mkhize said the health department had reached a landmark number of testing in both public and private labs.

“We are also trying to source more diagnostic test kits. We must commend all our workers in both public and private laboratories. We appreciate the work of the laboratory services.

“We have targeted Western Cape to deal with the backlog and we are happy to report turnaround time for tests in the Western Cape has been reduced to 24 hours. We are now focusing on this backlog in the Eastern Cape.

“There has to be stronger targetting now. We must make sure that everyone who needs to be tested or treated is able to get the service they need,” he said.

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