Mpumalanga government’s ailing Emergency Medical Service has received a much needed boost. The provincial Health Department has rolled out a fleet of new ambulances to replace old ambulances that have been grounded for many years.

Health MEC Sasekani Manzini unveiled the new fully equipped ambulances at the Mbombela Stadium.

Manzini has handed over 17 new emergency vehicles worth R17 million. She also confirmed that a total of 178 ambulances are operational to respond to any emergencies in the province.

The MEC has urged communities to utilise the services only when it is an emergency.

“We want to say to our communities, ambulances are used for emergency …We are saying to our communities when you are sick during the day go to the nearest clinic so that, that does not turn into an emergency at a later stage, because you should have addressed the problem earlier on.”

New ambulances are a lifeline and will renew hope for members of the public who’ve been who raising concerns.

Manzini says, “We are launching these ambulances to try and bridge the gap in communities that have been affected. We are heeding the call of our people who have been raising concerns about shortage of ambulances and we will be distributing them to different municipalities.”

Unions representing workers in the health sector are satisfied with the investment.

“We are happy about what has happened. Workers have been suffering as you know the issue of lack of medical equipment, at least these ambulances have got all the equipment. There were concerns about lack of uniform for workers. We see that has been addressed and we are now hoping that the department will address the issue of shortage of staff,”  says Mpumalanga’s Nehawu Deputy Chairperson Ben Sekwane.

The new ambulances have been fitted with tracking devices. This is to deter abuse and ensure security of the vehicles.