'EC scooters were procured to allow transportation of meds by health workers'
The Eastern Cape government raised many eyebrows when it launched the R10 million scooter protect.
There was much confusion as to what services the scooters were meant to provide.
Was it really meant to transport patients in rural areas or to deliver medicine in these far-flung areas?
Minister of Health Zweli Mkhize on Thursday made an about turn when responding to a Democratic Alliance parliamentary question and said the motorbikes were not fit for patient transportation.
The company that was awarded the controversial scooter tender, Fabkomp director Brian Harmse told Bongani Bingwa that the company had not yet received any money from government and they had not delivered a single scooter.
He says the tender was for 100 clinics to deliver medical services in rural areas.
Clement Manyathela also speaks to Eastern Cape Health Department head Dr Thobile Mbengashe and Democratic Alliance member of Parliament Siviwe Gwarube to shed more light on this controversial tender.
I wasn't shocked by the minister's about-turn as when the scooters were launched last month by the MEC and the minister, it seemed very obvious to me that there is a lot to be said about their suitability to transport patients.Siviwe Gwarube, MP - Democratic Alliance
She says both the minister and the MEC stated that these scooters would have a dual function. The one function would broadly expand access to primary health care by being able to go into rural areas to be able to transport patients.
And also to act as a mobile clinic but the reality is that any emergency medical service transportation must do. That is why we have ambulances. It wasn't surprising for the minister to say that they don't meet the requirements.Siviwe Gwarube, MP - Democratic Alliance
Mbengashe says the minister made it clear that the is a difficulty for community health workers to travel in rural areas.
The main function of the scooter would be to provide community health workers the ability to have mobility. The second one is that these scooters would be used to provide medications to communities and elderly people in their homes.Dr Thobile Mbengashe, Health Department head - Eastern Cape
The key issue here is that there are ambulance services, these scooters were never intended to be ambulances. The minister said that the ambulance services is regulated under the EMS regulation. The third issue is that what really has been confusing is that there are very difficult situations where they need to be transported to the clinic.Dr Thobile Mbengashe, Health Department head - Eastern Cape
The ambulance component was never the intended component of the scooter. The scooters were procured to provide medication and allow community health workers for transportation.Dr Thobile Mbengashe, Health Department head - Eastern Cape
He says the department is not buying scooters to transport patients, it is buying scooters to allow community health workers to transport medication to rural areas.
What was demonstrated, was demonstrated for the capabilities of the other elements that these kind of scooters have. We don't have regulations that allow us to do that, we will not buy those scooters to do those things.Dr Thobile Mbengashe, Health Department head - Eastern Cape
Listen below to the full conversation:
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