3 ambulances for 3 million people

HARARE - Harare city’s emergency department has just three ambulances to service over three million residents.

The city, which is currently struggling with disease outbreaks and a myriad of accidents, runs 12 polyclinics with a dilapidated fleet of ambulances and authorities are pleading for assistance.

Council’s chief fire officer Savious Mugavha said the old fleet is inadequate to attend to the city’s health demands.

“We need 32 ambulances to operate effectively but most of the time we have just three functional ones while the rest are broken down. The city needs a new fleet,” said Mugavha, who was speaking at a handover ceremony of an ambulance refurbished by a local cement manufacturer on Tuesday.

Harare mayor Muchadeyi Masunda said the emergency department had approximately 24 ambulances when his council took over but about 20 were dysfunctional.

He said the state of the city’s emergency department was everyone’s responsibility.

“Our council does not get any funding from government, we generate our own money,” Masunda said. “That has been the arrangement even before independence.

“Ratepayers should pay bills for us to have money. Beyond paying bills we should take stock of what we are doing to help the city. Service delivery does not have ‘isms’ attached like Zanu-ism or MDC-ism.”

Lafarge corporate affairs executive Washington Mutasa said his company refurbished the ambulance at a cost of $10 000 and further pledged to service the ambulance four times and give 2 400 litres of petrol. - Wendy Muperi

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