Behave responsibly this festive season

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Gauteng Health MEC Dr Gwen Ramokgopa has urged citizens to take personal responsibility for their safety this festive season to order to bring down the high number of  trauma cases.

At a recent media briefing on the province's state of readiness for the holidays, MEC Ramokgopa lamented the high incidence of trauma cases from motor vehicle accidents, stabbings, gunshot wounds and child injuries over the festive season.

The MEC, however, said clinics, hospitals and emergency services will remain operational throughout the festive season. The province has also beefed up the number of ambulances in its fleet to improve response time to emergencies.

According to the MEC, the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) total budget increased by 6% from R1.1 billion in 2016/17 to R1.2 billion in 2017/18, which allowed for the purchase of ambulances.

Procurement of these ambulances was done in two phases. In the first phase, 164 new ambulances, 10 Planned Patient Transporters and four Physically Challenged Specialized Units (PSCU) were bought. In the second phase, 64 new ambulances were procured and 20 other vehicles will be purchased.

“This brings the total number of operational ambulances to 862 in the province. All vehicles are added to the Gauteng Health Service platform and bring the total fleet to 1 268 vehicles,” said MEC Ramokgopa.

The MEC condemned the attacks on EMS personnel and called on communities to protect emergency workers and expose those who are behind the attacks.

Health tips for the festive season

MEC Ramokgopa called on citizens to take the following precautions this festive season:

  • Drink responsibly. Ask someone else to drive if you plan to drink.
  • Avoid fights. Do not carry a weapon and take extra care when crossing roads.
  • There is an outbreak of Listeriosis in the province, which has resulted in 28 deaths. In light of this, wash your hands before preparing food, before eating and after going to the toilet.
  • Practise safe sex. Use condoms. Enquire about male medical circumcision. Be faithful to your partner and -- especially for young people -- abstain until you are ready.
  • Those on chronic medication such as ARVs or TB treatment must plan ahead to ensure adherence to treatment.
  • Children should be encouraged to play with parents and guardians providing supervision, including at New Year’s fireworks festivities, to reduce risk of injury.
  • Pregnant mothers should try to remain close to a health facility in case they need medical attention.

In light of the department’s financial constraints, communities and staff are urged to use the available resources efficiently.

“Let me conclude by wishing those who will be going out of the province for the holidays a safe trip. Let's celebrate in a manner that protects the vulnerable in our communities, especially children, and let us be ambassadors of healthy lifestyles,” said MEC Ramokgopa. -

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