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Wednesday, 05 December 2018

Ambulance Attacks a symptom of a sick society

SEEKING SOLUTIONS: Stakeholders gathered at CPUT to discuss and seek common solutions to the problem of ambulance attacks. SEEKING SOLUTIONS: Stakeholders gathered at CPUT to discuss and seek common solutions to the problem of ambulance attacks.

A holistic view of attacks on ambulances emerged from the Safety Symposium hosted by CPUT yesterday. 

The scale of the problem was unpacked from ministerial level right through to community members who are feeling the brunt of reduced ambulance services in their areas.
Deputy Minister of Health Dr Mathume Phaahla says attacks on emergency medical staff are increasing because respect for human life is severely lacking in society and that is an indication of larger socio-economic challenges facing South Africa.

“We are living in a highly criminal infested society and that is why part of the discussion will explore the relationship between Community Policing Forums (CPF) and to ensure there are systems of cooperation to ensure that when a call for help arrives the emergency medical services feel safe enough to respond,” he says.

While not ideal, Phaahla explained the concept of red zones (no-go or access controlled zones for emergency medical care staff) has been one way of dealing with the scourge of ambulance attacks.

“The declaration of red zones are based on intelligence from the security cluster and police forums. There are a number of government interventions yet, despite this, the attacks still continue,” says Phaahla.

Some of the interventions implemented already include training neighbourhood watch members and CPF members to be first responders and provide critical care in the time until ambulance staff are able to get to the scene.

Lentegeur Neighbourhood Watch Chairwoman Glenda Arendse says her community was selected for first aid training as a trial run and that it is working well.
“Our community members know to cordon areas off and how to do basic first aid until the ambulance gets there and it is working,” she says.

Lloyd Christopher, Acting Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Health and Wellness Sciences and the symposium chairman says this is the first coordinated effort to try and tackle the problem.

“It is important that we get a diverse view of why these ambulance attacks affect the community and why they are happening. A common solution must be possible. A rescuer can’t be a rescuer and a victim, you have to be one or the other,” he says.

Written by Lauren Kansley

Tel: +27 21 953 8646

Liaises with the media and writes press releases about interesting developments at CPUT.