MoH grapples with ambulance shortage - Matlhabaphiri

Assistant Minister of Health Gaotlhaetse Matlhabaphiri has confirmed that his ministry is operating amidst severe shortage of ambulances countrywide. Fielding questions from Members of Parliament during the Minister's Question Time on Friday, Matlhabaphiri revealed that although the ministry has a total of 597 vehicles, a substantial number of them are currently with the Central Transport Organisation (CTO).

Matlhabaphiri revealed that 130 of the vehicles have been deemed unroadworthy, while 197 are with the CTO for repairs such as replacement of tyres.  While he acknowledged that this shortage is detrimental to people's health, Matlhabaphiri said the ministry plans to outsource their transport management so that they can buy vehicles, service and repair them outside of the CTO's convoluted processes."We are currently in talks to ensure that we manage and maintain our own fleet," he said.Matlhabaphiri was responding to a question from Okavango MP Bagalatia Arone who wanted the minister to explain the dire shortage of ambulances in the country. 

Arone said when clinics were transferred from local authorities to central government, all the vehicles in medical facilities in his constituency were condemned as unroadworthy and sold. He said the shortage, in his constituency, and countrywide, was becoming a crisis that needs urgent attention. MP for Shoshong Phillip Makgalemele said he was doubtful about Matlhabaphiri's assurances that the situation will be turned around as, according to Makgalemele, the assistant minister had made the same assurances in the House a year ago.  Makgalemele said he wondered if the assistant minister was taking the on-the-ground reality of the shortage of ambulances seriously.

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