- The Ministry of Health rolled out 100 motorbikes on Friday in an effort to increase resources in the fight against Covid-19
- The ministry said it has received backlash from the public and media queries regarding the motorbikes
- It said the motorbikes are meant to transport patients from clinics to facilities offering higher levels of care
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The Health Department has come under scrutiny for motorbikes that it rolled out in the fight against Covid-19.
The Ministry of Health said the motorbikes provided for health workers in the Eastern Cape are not meant to replace ambulances but are designed to assist in bringing healthcare closer to the people.
The Health Department received backlash from the public and media queries. It had to clarify why the motorbikes were needed.
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The spokesperson for the Health Ministry Dr Lwazi Manzi said:
"One of the complaints that the Eastern Cape Department of Health has received from rural communities is that because of a lack of road infrastructure, especially in rural areas, ambulances do not reach people who are sick, especially the elderly."
Manzi added that often members of the community end up having to put people in wheelbarrows or walking a long distance carrying a patient until they reach a road where an ambulance can go.
The Minister of Health Dr Zweli Mkhize handed over 100 motorbikes and 10 mobile clinics in the Eastern Cape.
The designer of the motorcycle ambulances Brian Harmse said the machines have an oxygen tank, masks, hospital-sized stretcher bed and first-aid kit.
The motorbikes can carry up to 170kg and can move at 60km/h. Health MEC Sindiswa Gomba said the motorbikes were designed with off-road capabilities and the intention was to transport patients from clinics to facilities offering higher levels of care.
Social media users who seemed unimpressed by the motorbikes took to Twitter to express their shock and dismay at the seemingly outdated motorbikes.
One of the critics of the motorbikes was EFF MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi.
Other users wondered about how much money went into the procurement process.
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