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EC Dept of Health responds to social media criticism of scooter project

Jun 15, 2020
EC Dept of Health responds to social media criticism of scooter project

Bhisho - The Eastern Cape Health Department on Sunday said that it noted with regret the misperception that has been created on social media platforms following the launch of mobile clinics and scooters.

"Contrary to malicious reports that the Department has procured the specialised scooters from overseas at R1 billion, the Department has entered into a three-year contract with a King William’s Town company after an open and competitive bidding process," said spokesperson, Sizwe Kupelo.

"The three-year R10.1 million contract includes procurement and a cost was R94,000 per unit plus R6000 for maintenance. A total of 200 people were employed during the production period.

"The department has also employed 150 additional staff who will be operating these scooters as part of our primary health care outreach programme.

"These are off-road scooters which are not part of our emergency fleet and will not ferry critical or emergency cases to hospitals but will be utilised in health education /awareness in communities during outreach programmes."

He added that these are specialised scooters fitted with beds, gazebos and extra chairs to allow community outreach operations.

"We must also indicate that, when the province had a cholera outbreak similar interventions were implemented for community outreach purposes.

"As we fight this battle against COVID-19 and other diseases in the province we will continue to use innovative methods to accelerate service delivery to the people," Kupelo said.

"If we want to win the battle against diseases particularly lifestyle conditions, we have to reach out to communities to raise awareness and strengthen our primary health care.

"This will include delivery of chronic medication to patients."

Image may contain: one or more people, motorcycle and outdoor

He added that strengthening primary health care also means less expenditure as opposed to the current expensive treatment based health care system.

"We regret the lack of clarity on the intended utilisation of the specialised scooters but equally wish to emphasize that, these are not part of emergency fleet hence the employment of non HPCSA registered personnel to operate them.

"The people of the Eastern Cape are assured that emergency services will continue operating with specialised vehicles, helicopters/air ambulances and Patient Transport Vehicles operated by qualified paramedics and ambulance practitioners," Kupelo explained.

"As we continue fighting the spread of COVID-19 we want to call on everyone to adhere to the lockdown regulations and do their part to flatten the curve.

"As of last night [Saturday], the Eastern Cape had 9 250 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 4 559 recoveries and unfortunately 217 deaths. May their souls rest in peace.

"Unfortunately, these numbers are likely going to increase as the virus is expected to peak in the coming weeks or months.

"For us to stop the spread of this virus we must all do our part by staying at home, practising good personal hygiene by washing our hands with soap and water or sanitiser regularly, wearing masks or cloths when in public and practising social distancing.

"As President Cyril Ramaphosa has said, we can beat this together."

Image may contain: one or more people, motorcycle, car and outdoor

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