South Africa: On the Streets With Paramedics Amid Covid-19 and High Crime Rates


In South Africa, responding to medical emergencies can mean risking your life, possible assault and losing some of your belongings. The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated and added to these daily challenges faced by paramedics.

It's 6:38am at Prinshof Ambulance station in Pretoria on 10 July. On the grounds, two ambulances are parked, washed and sanitised for the day's call-outs. Later, after this shift, the vehicles will be sanitised again.

Emergency medical services vehicles are sanitised before and after every shift. (Photo: Denvor de Wee / Spotlight)

The same morning an emergency call comes through to attend to an accident scene. Spotlight's photographer hops into the EMS car with two paramedics - Ernest Motswai and Jane Kekana. They say they use the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) car because they can get to an accident scene quicker, especially for smaller response calls.

Before the shift starts: The morning briefing at Prinshof ambulance station in Pretoria. (Photo: Denvor de Wee / Spotlight)

At the scene, Motswai and Kekana help stabilise a pedestrian involved in a motor vehicle accident. The patient was knocked over by a passing trailer. He is bleeding from his mouth and lost some teeth.

Later during an interview with the...

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