Zimbabwe has received 20 ambulances and ancillary medical equipment from the African Development Bank and the Government of India.
Speaking at the handover yesterday, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, who is also the Minister of Health and Child Care said the institutions had a role to play in enhancing the country’s capacity to respond to emergencies.
The Vice President said the donation of ambulances, which would be distributed to some district, provincial, central hospitals and selected toll gates along major highways, was the first step in the attainment of an effective ambulance system that was expected to mainly focus on attendance to emergencies and disasters.
He said the country still needed more ambulances to increase its capacity to respond to all emergencies and disasters that could cost lives.
“Ideally, all our toll-gates should have base stations to accommodate ambulances that respond to occurrences of road traffic accidents and other emergencies along our major highways.
“It is this vision that spurs my Ministry to request Zinara to provide space for base stations at their tollgate sites. My ministry also requests Zinara to consider donating ambulances, as a plough back gesture to our motorists, passengers and other road users who may require medical attention,” he said.
He said the Association of Health Care Funders of Zimbabwe should also consider ring-fencing public health interests among their corporate social responsibilities.
This would see medical aid societies also taking part in enhancing casualty collection capacity to save lives.
“The (Insurance and Pensions) Commission controls all operations of insurance companies, some of which are mandated to levy third party vehicle insurance schemes on all serviceable vehicles in Zimbabwe. I request you to consider lending a hand for the purposes of ramping up our emergency response capacity.”
VP Chiwenga said Government on its part, would purchase 100 more ambulances to enhance the collection capacity. Part of the fleet was expected in the country by the end of June.
“Casualty collection is a key capability in modern public health systems designed to mitigate effects of pandemics such as Covid-19, endemic-prone diseases, disasters such as Cyclone Idai, communicable and non-communicable diseases, maternal emergencies and road traffic accidents.
“The guaranteed availability of purpose-built patients’ transport goes a long way in the reduction of mortality rates in the country,” he said.
Part of the expansion and modernisation of the healthcare system included establishment of centralised repair and maintenance workshops to ensure the ambulance fleet was always serviced and roadworthy.
Indian Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Vijay Khanduja said the relationship between the two countries was a long one based on mutual trust, respect and solidarity.
“It is an honour and privilege for me to hand over a consignment of 10 ambulances as a gift from India to Zimbabwe which had been promised during the visit of the Vice President of India in 2018.
“We hope that the ambulances will strengthen the healthcare system in Zimbabwe and make the bilateral relationship more ambulatory, dynamic and strong,” he said.
AfDB country representative Ms Moono Mupotola said the donation, made through the World Health Organisation (WHO) was part of the bank’s support to Zimbabwe.
She said the project, cost US$15 million, was approved last year and would assist millions of Zimbabweans.- state media