The decision has been informed by the fact that many victims of accidents such as road crashes and explosions die as they are being rushed to hospital without immediate post-accident service.
Health Deputy Minister Dr Faustine Ndugulile said in an exclusive interview that the vehicles have already arrived in the country, and will first be fielded during the upcoming Southern African Development Community (SADC) Summit.
“After the summit, the ambulances and other vehicles will be distributed to regions with health centers that provide post-accident emergency services.
“It is a system that the government has initiated to save the lives of injured people who die a few hours after road crashes due to lack of emergency care services,” he said.
The government is also in the process of extending post-accident care services in air transport by fixing air lifting that will help people to be transferred to hospitals, he further observed.
Apart from the 12 ambulance buses, the two purchased vehicles which are well equipped with essential health care equipment, the vehicles are able to carry more than 20 patients at once, contrary to ambulances.
Dr Ndugulile explained that the government is also in the process of purchasing fire and rescue vehicles that will be used to save passengers from accident scene buses.
“The new vehicles have special equipment where after a bus has an accident and doors fail to open, the equipment will be used to cut the bus and remove passengers from the vehicle, reducing the risk of death and extent of injuries,” he said.
Passengers die in the first hour after accident due to lack of essential health care services to help those who suffer from breathing failure, bleeding and related problems, he explained.
“We believe that ambulance service that we have introduced together with the training scheduled to be provided to health service providers will help to save the lives of many victims of road crashes who die because of absence of post-accident care services,” he elaborated.
He urged the public to learn the procedures required to save injured persons by making sure that first aid service is made available to the victim. This includes removing the victim from the area of accident to obviate the danger of fire.
But also the health care providers will be working to make sure accident victims stop bleeding, and the respiratory system is safe, he emphasized.
Lifting victims of accident without proper handling may increase further injury or aggravate wounds, even cause death to victims suffering from respiratory failure, he added.