A panel beating company in Blantyre, K Motors, has committed to fix grounded hospital ambulances across the country as part of its corporate social responsibility.
K Motors managing director Mansoor Karim said they embarked on the project in which they will fix one ambulance every month for the next 12 months.
He said they got two ambulances from Chikwawa District Hospital and they have already fixed one which they will be handing over to the hospital at the end of this month.
Said Karim: “We are aware of the huge resource challenges facing our public hospitals in terms of servicing and fixing ambulances and this has led to a number of them being grounded. We pledged to be fixing one ambulance every month for free as a way to give back to the community.”
The motor fixing company uses its Facebook page to ask hospitals to send photos and details of grounded ambulances from which they pick which ones to prioritise based on need.
The fixing includes both servicing and panel beating.
Said Karim: “We are a fairly new company and this is the little we can do to help our communities. We are also grateful for the support that we get from insurance companies like Liberty Insurance, UGI, Britam and Nico for a new company like ours.”
Chikwawa district health officer Dr Stalin Zinkanda said the rehabilitation of the two ambulances will help the district reach out to almost 100 000 patients.
He said: “We are excited that K Motors will fix our two ambulances for free, this is good news. About 10 months ago, we only had one running ambulance until government gave us five new ambulances.”
According to Zinkanda, Chikwawa District has a population of 601 000 and 28 health centres some of which are in hard-to-reach areas, thereby affecting health service delivery.
“The World Health Organisation recommends that one ambulance should serve up to 50 000 people. This means that ideally, we are supposed to have 12 functioning ambulances but only six are running now,” he said.
Zinkanda said the hospital will allocate the two ambulances to remote health centres to ease their transportation challenges.