Residents of Zimbaba village outside King William’s Town in the Eastern Cape are calling on government to prioritise health services in rural communities. They made the call when Premier Lubabalo Mabuyane handed over 129 more emergency vehicles to improve the provision of medical emergency services in the province.
The fleet consists of ambulances, patient transport vehicles and emergency response vehicles. The residents have accused the Health Department of not promptly responding to basic medical needs.
“Ambulance operators are negligent, they will give you hope and say they are coming but we end up waiting for hours, even the security officer who was on duty on the day in question said, there is nothing they can do when the ambulances do not arrive,” says resident Novumile Mbilase.
Health MEC Sindiswa Gomba says her department is dealing decisively with the ambulance backlog in rural areas.
“It became critical as we were dealing with distribution that we should be able to look at where are the needy areas and equally the far flung areas and centres of offering health and when you look at that, it suggests that it is not enough and we still have the challenge,” says Gomba.