Africa

Ambulance services feel the strain of rising COVID-19 infections

The South African Medical Research Council has called for the government to prioritise and improve emergency medical response.

A City of Johannesburg EMS ambulance. Picture: @RobertMulaudzi/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG – As hospitals in Gauteng continue to feel the strain due to the rising Coronavirus infections so too are the ambulance services.

The South African Medical Research Council has called for the government to prioritise and improve emergency medical response.

This as the continued closure of Charlotte Maxeke Hospital is placing a burden on other health facilities.

In April a fire swept through parts of the facility, forcing its closure.

This has now had a ripple effect, with surrounding hospitals taking the massive strain.

While ambulance services are now forced to travel longer distances to transport patients who need life-saving treatment.

While some healthcare services have taken a back seat over the pandemic’s course, others have experienced immense pressure.

Ambulance services were recently provincialised and are now run by the Gauteng Health Department.

Director of the office of AIDS & TB research at the South African Medical Research Council Doctor Fareed Abdullah said the rising COVID-19 cases and hospital admissions are placing a heavy burden on ambulance crews.

“Given the problems with hospital capacity in Joburg and Tembisa we really need to make sure that our ambulances and emergency medical services are working optimally so that we can move patients around to where ever a hospital bed exists. And it’s not easy to just put a patient in an ambulance because sometimes the patient needs to be on a ventilator or oxygen”.

With over 3500 residents being treated for COVID-19 in both public and private facilities – a hospital the size of Charlotte Maxeke is desperately needed in the province.

Yet details of plans to reopen it, remain unclear.

READ: Third wave, additional Maxeke patients putting major strain on Bara hospital

READ MORE: GP govt under pressure to reopen Charlotte Maxeke hosp as COVID cases spike

ALSO READ: Makhura wants to declare a local state of disaster at Charlotte Maxeke hospital

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