Government has taken delivery of 30 new ambulances that are part of the 100 expected before year-end, as efforts are stepped up to revamp the health delivery system.
The ambulances will now be fitted with conversion kits before being dispatched to healthcare facilities countrywide.
Each province will receive between eight to 10 ambulances once all the highly specialised vehicles are in the country.
The conversion kits are expected within the next month.
Finance and Economic Development Ministry spokesperson Mr Clive Mphambela told The Sunday Mail that funding for procurement of the conversion kits has already been released.
“We have 30 ambulances already in the country awaiting conversion kits,” he said.
“Treasury has since availed the forex requirements for the importation of the conversion kits, which will be delivered in the next 40 days to allow final delivery of the ambulances for use by the various Government hospitals.
“We remain on course to ensure delivery of all the 100 ambulances by year-end as per target.”
An ambulance conversion kit comprises a partition panel, roof panel, right- and left-side panels and electrical installation equipment.
Zimbabwe currently has a fleet of 134 functional ambulances and 148 non-runners.
The country requires a ground fleet of at least 200 fully equipped ambulances and a handful of air ambulances for medical emergencies where the distance does not allow the use of road ambulances.
Government set aside $590 million in the 2021 Budget for the procurement of the life-saving vehicles.
Ministry of Health and Child Care acting director Engineer Frank Chiku said the ambulances will be distributed depending on the need.
“What we usually do when we distribute ambulances is to first look at where there is more need and that is where we give first priority,” he said.
A study on emergency and ambulance service commissioned by Government in 2018 established that owing to the shortage of ambulances, nearly 30 percent of road traffic accident victims die before reaching a healthcare facility.
The study also established that transit time for patients in ambulances ranges between four to five hours, leading to unnecessary loss of life.
It also revealed that all Government ambulances lacked basic equipment, including oxygen, delivery packs for pregnant women in transit, resuscitation equipment, masks, intravenous lines for drips, intravenous stands and trolleys.
The study recommended that all 63 districts in the country’s health system should have at least two functional ambulances and qualified personnel.