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Poor roads keep ambulances out of John Dube

Written by Thabo Molelekwa

Roads in John Dube Village outside Johannesburg are so bad that ambulances cannot reach critical patients. Instead, patients must walk or be carried to the main road to receive emergency help.

EMS workers say that unpaved roads and a lack of street signs keep them from providing emergency services in the community just outside Johannesburg.

EMS workers say that unpaved roads and a lack of street signs keep them from providing emergency services in the community just outside Johannesburg.

Skhondla Sosobala is the chairman of John Dube, which is near Duduza in Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality.

Sosobala told OurHealth that callers in need emergency medical services (EMS) are often told that ambulances cannot find callers’ locations due to a lack of street signs.He added that when ambulances can find callers, they are often forced to ask that patients walk or be carried to the nearest main road because ambulances cannot traverse the stone-filled ruts that serve as roads through the community.

“A month ago my wife nearly died here in the house,” Sosobala said. “We called for an ambulance and it came after three hours.”

“Then we were told to go to the main road since they can’t get in here due to poor streets,” resident Sibusiso Sibanyoni added.

Local EMS workers, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed that a dearth of street signs and poor roads prevented them from reaching patients.

“We park our ambulances at the main road,” said one worker. “Then we go down to the patients and carry them up on spine boards to the ambulances.”[quote float=”right”]“We park our ambulances at the main road then we go down to the patients and carry them up on spine boards to the ambulances”

Sibanyoni also complained about a lack of mobile clinic outreach in John Dube.

“The municipality doesn’t even bring us a mobile clinic for our kids and their mothers have to travel a long distance to Duduza or (Dunnottar) for them to access health care,” he said.

However, Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality Spokesperson Themba Gadebe said that Duduza Clinic is within the government recommended 5 km radius from John Dube – as is the 24-hour Nokuthela Ngwenya Community Centre.

Gadebe added that the municipality has launched a new mobile clinic for the Nigel/ Duduza area, which should operate five days a week.

John Dube residents should now expect the mobile clinic every Monday and Wednesday, Gadebe said. The clinic will also visit Vorkerskroon and Pretoriusstad on Tuesdays, Roma and Blue Valley on Thursdays and Masechaba Area on Fridays.

The municipal roads department has appointed Mogoba Maphuthi and Associations to upgrade roads in John Dube Village, said Gadebe, who did not specify when work to upgrade roads in the area would commence. – Health-e News.

An edited version of this story was first published on 13 November by the Ekurhuleni News. 

About the author

Thabo Molelekwa

Thabo Molelekwa joined OurHealth citizen journalists project in 2013 and went on to become an intern reporter in 2015. Before joining Health-e News, Thabo was a member of the Treatment Action Campaign’s Vosloorus branch. He graduated from the Tshwane University of Technology with a diploma in Computer Systems and started his career at Discovery Health as a claims assessor. In 2016 he was named an International HIV Prevention Reporting Fellow with the International Centre for Journalists and was a finalist in the Discovery Health Journalism Awards competition in 2016 and 2017 respectively. Thabo also completed a feature writing course at the University of Cape Town in 2016. In 2017 he became a News reporter , he is currently managing the Citizen Journalism programme.You can follow him on @molelekwa98