Zim to get more air ambulances from Russia

09 Jun, 2024 - 00:06 0 Views
Zim to get more air ambulances from Russia President Mnangagwa tours HeliDrive’s helicopter premises, accompanied by its co-owner Julia Yatsenko (left) in St Petersburg, Russia, yesterday. — Pictures: Joseph Nyadzayo

The Sunday Mail

Kudakwashe Mugari in ST PETERSBURG, Russia

THE Government will set up an efficient air ambulance service that will be manned by highly skilled medical doctors, engineers, dispatchers and pilots to reduce fatalities caused by road traffic accidents, President Mnangagwa has said.

Zimbabwe will also explore opportunities for developing services that leverage on expertise in helicopter design and operations from Russia.

The President yesterday wrapped up his visit here by touring HeliDrive, which provides air medical services to 70 percent of the Russian population.

The tour, which included the operation centre’s factory, as well as hospital in St Petersburg, was meant to ensure he gets first-hand information on how air medical services work in Russia.

President Mnangagwa tours the HeliDrive National Emergency Medical Hospital in St Petersburg, Russia.

Zimbabwe last year took delivery of 18 brand-new helicopters from Moscow, which are providing emergency air medical services and law enforcement.

Some have also been deployed to the tourism sector.

Before the end of this year, the country would have received at least 32 helicopters under a public-private sector partnership agreement.

President Mnangagwa is currently modernising the health sector as part of deliberate steps to create a modern, prosperous and highly industrialised country by 2030.

The helicopters are critical in Zimbabwe, considering the rising incidents of road traffic accidents.

Further, they are also set to boost the tourism sector, especially against the backdrop of assured health care for tourists through emergency air medical services that will be offered in resort areas like Mana Pools and Victoria Falls.

President Mnangagwa said he is confident that the programme will be successful.

“This tour has been an eye-opener. The air medical services are critical for Zimbabwe. I give it my blessings,” he said.

“I want this project to be inaugurated in Zimbabwe. We must have a centre, then we train a number of pilots, engineers, medical doctors and dispatchers.”

Helidrive’s co-owner Ms Julia Yatsenko said since the delivery of helicopters, they have been able to offer services in most parts of Zimbabwe.

She also said products manufactured by the company are ideal for the African continent.

“We have been supplying helicopters, airplanes, cargo trucks, medicines and vaccines as well to the African continent.

“The year 2022 was a breakthrough for us. We have signed a number of contracts for supplying aircraft to Zimbabwe,” she said.

Ms Yatsenko said while some of the helicopters can be used for emergency medical assistance, others are for law enforcement.

“Before the end of 2024, we are going to supply 32 helicopters. This, of course, will serve to make Zimbabwe one of the leaders in the field of providing emergency medical care.

“Considering that there are potential climate problems in this country, it is important to know that a helicopter can deliver a patient to hospital from any point in the country,” she said.

Ms Yatsenko said the operator had established its own national air ambulance service in Russia.

“This ambulance service was established in 2019, and during the three years of its existence, a great deal of work has been done. Emergency medical care was provided to approximately 23 000 patients.

“We will also be ready to provide to you the assistance not only in giving service maintenance to the helicopters but also in training the personnel,” she added.

Meanwhile, President Mnangagwa left Russia for Harare yesterday evening.

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