What started out as a means of survival for an embattled private ambulance operator has turned into a way of saving the lives of many Covid-19 patients. Ashwell Tiflin's ambulance service took a knock after lockdown started, forcing him to come up with alternative means of survival.
Private ambulance services transport their patients for a fee, with revenue streams intrinsically linked to road accidents and house calls. But the implementation of lockdown posed a threat to many companies, which resulted in the closure of several smaller operators.
Ashwell Tiflin's ambulance service company, Juvare Emergency Medical Services, was forced to close down because of Covid-19. "Private EMS companies get paid from different medical aids. With accidents, we get paid from the Road Accident Fund for people that do not have medical aid. We lost 70% of our income and had to close down," he said.
A worker loads oxygen cylinders at the Eco Med plant in Krugersdorp. (Photo: Shiraaz Mohamed) Covid survivor Joaquim Adams checks his oxygen with an oximeter. (Photo: Shiraaz Mohamed)
So Tiflin did what many companies had to do during the lockdown; he pivoted.
Tiflin and two relatives, using the resources from his ambulance service, started supplying oxygen...