No ambulances = Death

Four learners have died in a tragic road accident in rural Eastern Cape, but what is equally awful is that community members had to reportedly transport the critically injured children to hospital because there are no ambulances that service their village.

The four school children from Lwandile and Mngcibe villages were travelling Ntshilini Senior Secondary School when the driver lost control of the bus and overturned.  We are reliably informed that those who were injured were transported to the hospital in private vehicles and taxis because these is no ambulance service in this area.

SECTION27 and partners have been advocating for the improvement of ambulance services in the Eastern Cape since 2013. Our efforts have been met with promises but little action.

In March 2015, the South African Human Rights Commission conducted hearings into the state of Emergency Medical Services in the province and found that the health department continues to violate the rights of citizen and had failed to provide access to health care as guaranteed in Section 27 of the Constitution.

Since the hearings, we have visited over 32 villages in the OR Tambo district and found that many people are still dying for lack of ambulances.

In July 2017 the MEC for Health Dr Pumza Dyantyi handed over 68 ambulances in Vincent in East London bringing the fleet to just over 400 but it is clear that the deep rural areas of the former Transkei like Mdumbi village still do not have ambulances. In addition, it has been reported that nearly half of the ambulance fleet is at various depots awaiting repairs.   The health department’s own planning documents say that there should be a minimum of 650 ambulances to cover the province.

We extended our condolences to the families of the victims of this tragedy.

Ntsiki Mpulo

0827827143