KwaZulu-Natal emergency services ready

HEALTHY UPGRADE: Kwazulu-Natal yesterday unveiled a new fleet of 150 ambulances. Pic. Mandla Mkhize. 05/12/2006. © Sowetan.
HEALTHY UPGRADE: Kwazulu-Natal yesterday unveiled a new fleet of 150 ambulances. Pic. Mandla Mkhize. 05/12/2006. © Sowetan.

Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

Health officials in KwaZulu-Natal yesterday unveiled a brand new fleet of 150 ambulances valued at R45million.

The KwaZulu-Natal health department said the new vehicles were part of its plans to gear up to deal with any medical emergency.

The new ambulances are part of the Alpha Operations programme that the department will embark on over the holiday period. The aim of the operation is to coordinate and strengthen all emergency medical rescue services and resources throughout the province.

Health MEC Peggy Nkonyeni said: "During this festive period the department will have 200 emergency vehicles in operation and an additional 53 ambulances and 11 medical emergency disaster buses and rescue vehicles."

In addition the department also has two helicopters, one stationed in Richards Bay to provide aero-medical care in northern KwaZulu-Natal, and another based in Durban,

"We also have a fixed-wing plane for the transfer of emergencies," Nkonyeni said.

The Alpha Operations launch also included the passing out of 84 paramedics who have successfully completed a three-month training course in basic life support.

This training is part of the recruitment programme initiated by the department to train unemployed matriculants from previously disadvantaged backgrounds and who are then employed by the department.

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