“These are motorcycles and not scooters!”
And it will not replace ambulances in the Eastern Cape. This is just another way to bring quality health care to residents in remote rural areas, where roads for ordinary ambulances are impassable.
This is how Dr. Health Minister Zweli Mkhize and his department are furious with criticism after criticizing Friday about launching about 100 motorcycles in the province to help fight the Covid 19 pandemic, among other things.
Dr. Mkhize’s spokeswoman Lwazi Manzi said in a statement that “motorcycle ambulances” were purchased after the Eastern Cape department received numerous complaints from rural communities in particular that ambulances could not reach sick people, especially the elderly, because of ” lack of passable roads.
“Community members had to push a sick person into a wheelbarrow or carry such a person over long distances to a road where it was accessible to an ambulance.”
She said Sindiswa Gomba, MEC for Health in the Eastern Cape, saw motorcycles for community health workers as an opportunity to tackle the problem.
Manzi says the motorcycles can drive on rural terrain and will only transport patients to the nearest clinic, from where proper ambulances will take patients to appropriate health facilities.
“The motorcycles have a sidewall trailer that is waterproof in which sitting and lying patients can be transported.”
She says it is versatile because it can be used as mobile clinics, test units and delivery vehicles for medicine. ”
Manzi further said two community health workers will also be able to use a motorcycle “for example, Covid-19 tests in deep rural areas, as well as for general health support and tests for other communicable diseases such as tuberculosis and HIV / AIDS, as well as non-communicable diseases such as diabetes. and high blood pressure ”.
Community health workers on motorcycles will also be equipped with cell phones and two-way radios to inform paramedics if a patient requires urgent hospitalization.
According to Manzi, the dignity and health of South Africans remains a top priority and all possibilities will be constantly explored to ensure that even the poorest receive quality health care.
The EFF in the Buffalo City subway on Saturday rejected a statement on the motorcycle project and wanted to know how it could ride on derelict roads in deep rural areas.
The EFF says there are rural villages around the Buffalo City subway where the roads are so damaged that even ordinary ambulances struggle to reach sick people.
“Our view is that the government should have started repairing the roads rather than providing mobile clinics such as trucks or four-wheel drive vehicles,” their statement says.
This is how Mkhize launched the motorcycle project on Twitter on Friday.
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. #ECVisit12June pic.twitter.com/LdyKPXFXbe— Dr Zweli Mkhize (@DrZweliMkhize) June 12, 2020