by Isak Fritz – DA Northern Cape Provincial Spokesperson for Health
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Date: 13 September 2018
The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Northern Cape is calling on the MEC of Health, Fufe Makatong, to urgently operationalize ambulances that are gathering dust at the government garage in Kimberley.
This comes after a newborn baby in De Aar tragically passed away before she was even given an opportunity to receive health care because an ambulance never attended to an emergency call.
Vuyokazi Twane, who ended up giving birth at her home in De Aar, waited for two hours before neighbours eventually took her and her baby, who was still attached by the umbilical cord, to hospital after the ambulance had still not arrived. Sadly, her baby boy died on the way to the hospital.
The DA visited the family to extend our deepest sympathies.
This is an unforgiveable failure on the part of the Health Department. They are meant to help save lives, not help take lives.
For years on end, the Northern Cape Health Department has been battling to offer an efficient and effective emergency service to the poorest of the poor. They are always short on vehicles, allegedly because vehicles have been written off in accidents, or they are in for repairs or they are awaiting to be converted into new ambulances. They are also always short on personnel, and in many instances continue to operate single crew ambulances. Response times also, more often than not, fall short of meeting the golden hour.
Enough is enough.
It is reported in the media today that 50 vehicles, including two ambulances, all of which are said to belong to the health department, are gathering dust in the government garage. This is unacceptable. People are dying because there are not enough ambulances on our roads.
The DA will write to Makatong, asking her to provide a detailed explanation of the vehicles that are stagnating in the government garage. We also call on her to urgently give attention to the pitiful Emergency Medical Service in the province by reprioritizing the budget, recruiting additional EMS staff members, repairing old vehicles and settling outstanding debts, that are most probably the cause of the vehicles standing idol in garages.
The DA is heartbroken by baby Twane’s untimely death and we cannot help but wonder whether he may have still been alive today, had an ambulance been there on time.
Only change under a DA-led government will see to it that healthcare is prioritized and emergency services professionalized, to prevent the unnecessary loss of life.
DA Northern Cape Provincial Spokesperson for Health
083 395 2737
079 226 0991