Latest News Editor's Choice

News / Local

100-ambulance boost for health sector

by Staff reporter
01 May 2022 at 11:09hrs | Views
GOVERNMENT has taken delivery of 100 ambulances that are set to be distributed across the country's 10 provinces soon as authorities ramp up efforts to improve service delivery at public health institutions.

So far, some of the ambulances have been fully kitted, while the Government awaits more kits for the remaining emergency health vehicles.

Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care Dr John Mangwiro confirmed the purchase of the ambulances.

"Yes, I can confirm that we have procured those ambulances and they are now in the country. You can get further information from the Ministry of Finance (and Economic Development), who are responsible for the purchase, they have been busy with the logistics of providing funding for the purchase of the ambulances and other finer details," he said.

Communications and advocacy director in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development Mr Clive Mphambela said all the 100 ambulances are now in the country and they will be commissioned on a date to be advised soon.

"I am glad to say that all the ambulances have been delivered and they are now in the country," he said.

Mr Mphambela said a third of the ambulances have already been kitted.

"Thirty-three ambulances are fully kitted. Kits have been acquired for the remaining ambulances and we are about to receive these materials and start fitting the vehicles. The kitting is done locally, so commissioning will be done once all vehicles have been kitted."

Community Working Group on Health (CWGH) executive director Mr Itai Rusike applauded the move, saying the ambulances will improve access to health services, particularly in rural areas.

"While communities assist with emergencies where they can, local transport operators sometimes take advantage and overcharge desperate patients in need of emergency care," he said.

"While there was a shortage of ambulances, we also realised that there were inadequately trained staff to take care of patients during transit, also complicating their recovery or risking fatalities in transit."

Mr Rusike said the ambulances will also enhance the use of technologies to improve health care.

"There is also a need for us to take advantage of technological advances. For example, health facilities have used mobile phones to alert ambulance services and to support those attending to patients whilst waiting for an ambulance or medical personnel, improving the possibility of improved outcomes for patients.

"A 'Dial-a-Doc' initiative can be worked on with mobile operators, working with enlisted services of medical practitioners at a call centre to respond to phone-in requests for information and help from the public. A similar service is available in South Africa, Zambia and Malawi."

Each province is set to receive between eight to 10 ambulances once they have been all kitted. As at December 31, 2018, the ministry had 282 ambulances and out of the 282 ambulances, 134 were functional whilst 148 were non-runners.

A study on emergency and ambulance service commissioned by the Government in 2018 established that owing to the shortage of ambulances, nearly 30 percent of road traffic accident victims die before reaching a health care facility.

The study also established that transit time for patients in ambulances ranges between four to five hours, leading to unnecessary loss of life.

All Government ambulances, the study revealed, lacked basic equipment including oxygen, delivery packs for pregnant women in transit, resuscitation equipment, masks, intravenous lines for drips, intravenous stands and trolleys.

The study recommended that all 63 districts in the country's health system should have at least two functional ambulances and qualified personnel. Prof Ncube suspended the purchase of service vehicles for all Cabinet Ministers, saying the money would be channelled to purchase the ambulances.

Source - The Sunday Mail