Five hour wait for ambulance that never arrived

2017-04-25 14:47

East London – "I called the 112 [emergency] number. I told them a guy got stabbed not far from my home. I gave them directions. The person I spoke to assured me that the ambulance was on its way," Nandipha Sinaye said. 

Sinaye lives in Isilatsha village near Mooiplaas just over 40km from East London. The story she is telling is about how she tried to assist a man who had been attacked near her home last month, GroundUp reports. 

After waiting for nearly an hour, Sinaye said she called back and was told there were no vehicles available. Five hours later, Sinaye said a man from a neighbouring village took the injured man to hospital in his car. The ambulance never arrived.

Her complaint is a common one in this rural area.

health
TAC member Nokulunga Jalisile speaking at a recent health meeting in Isilatsha. (Manqulo Nyakombi, GroundUp)

Xolisile Sam, a member of the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), said that in 2014 his sister was very sick and needed emergency treatment. He believes she died "because there were no ambulances".

Sam said his family waited at least four days before the ambulance arrived.

"My sister was sick and she was on antiretroviral treatment but we believe that if the ambulance arrived on time she would still be alive," said Sam. His sister died a week later at Frere Hospital.

Sam said that people were often forced to hire a car for R600 to take a patient to Frere or Empilweni hospitals in East London.

"The health system is failing people living in rural areas. We try but it is very hard for our community to have access to the health system," said Sam.

Last week TAC members launched an initiative where they call for ambulances on behalf of Isilatsha residents. They do this to assist with language barriers.

TAC member Nokulunga Jalisile said that language was one of the main concerns when residents from rural areas contacted the emergency call centre.

"This is a rural area and most people who live here are not educated. This is why we’re assisting the community by calling ambulances for them," she said.

Sam said he uses his own money, that he earns from doing piecemeal work in the village, to make the calls.

"Most people who live in this village are pensioners. They do not have cell phones," he said.

Sizwe Kupelo, spokesperson for the Eastern Cape Department of Health, said the province had 400 ambulances and a helicopter for the East London area.

He advised that the Isilatsha community should not call the ambulance base directly, but instead call the toll-free 10177 emergency service centre number.

"We are currently awaiting the delivery of over 100 emergency fleet vehicles including buses," he said.

Read more on:    east london  |  service delivery  |  health

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
Watch: Investing in the future through child development

An investment of R32-million into 11 early childhood development centres is changing the future for children in the Northern Cape.

Partner Content
What all investors should know about index investing

Index-linked investments are growing fast in popularity globally, and are growing in size and complexity too.

/World
 

For the love of Corgis!

WATCH: 35 Corgi's to make your day! If they’re good enough for the Queen of England they’re good enough for us.

 
 

Paws

Can we communicate with our pets?
8 great natural remedies for your pet
Buying a puppy? Don’t get scammed!
WATCH: These funny animal videos will make you LOL!
Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.