Stop killing ambulance attendants: MEC

Monday, November 21, 2011

Pretoria - KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo has called on community leaders to help stop the killing of ambulance attendants following a rise in the hijacking and killing of attendants.

Dhlomo, who held his first public engagement in Newcastle with community leaders, urged them to go back to their communities and make a call for the protection of ambulance attendants.

The meeting was part of Dhlomo's undertaking to visit districts to mobilize communities for better health outcomes. It was also part of the department's effort to mobilize communities and all sectors in the delivery of quality healthcare.

A concerned Dhlomo noted that between April and June, there has been a number of cases of ambulance attendants being hijacked, assaulted and intimidated, while caring for the ill.

In the first semester of 2011, the department lost two ambulance attendants who were killed in the line of duty, including 43-year-old Thulani Mkhize, who was shot to death in April while transporting a patient and Michael Mazibuko, 44, who was stabbed to death in May after responding to a call to assist his crew mates at an incident in Rosedale, Estcourt.

"In August we will be receiving a fleet of 159 extra ambulances which will be distributed to all districts, of course, we may not be able to meet the shortest but that problem is compounded when our ambulance attendants cannot freely go out to provide emergency medical care because they fear for their lives," Dhlomo told community leaders.

The MEC provided the meeting with the current health status, which highlighted that KwaZulu-Natal was leading in the number of diseases especially TB, HIV and Aids.

He also announced a number of infrastructure developments in the districts such as the completed Madadeni Hospital and Newcastle mortuaries, a number of clinics to be completed including the hand-over of a construction site for the Madadeni clinic in Unit 7 clinic on Friday.

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