Zimbabwe Medical Air Rescue Ambulance Helicopter Service
The Zimbabwe Air Ambulance Service is a critical component of the nation’s healthcare system, providing vital emergency medical transportation through helicopter service.
Established with the assistance of the Russian Helicopters Holding Company, a subsidiary of Rostec State Corporation, this service has significantly improved access to medical care in Zimbabwe.
It is the first of its kind on the African continent, offering timely and life-saving support to those in remote or hard-to-reach areas.
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History and Development
In May 2023, the Russian Helicopters Holding Company delivered a batch of 18 Ansat helicopters to Zimbabwe, marking the inception of the country’s modern air ambulance fleet.
These light multipurpose helicopters, produced at the Kazan Helicopter Plant, serve as the foundation of the air ambulance service.
This development followed active cooperation that began in 2022, resulting in contracts for the supply of helicopters for various national agencies in Zimbabwe, including civil-purpose Mi-17 and Ansat helicopters.
During the handover ceremony in Harare, Sergey Chemezov, the Director General of Rostec State Corporation, emphasised the primary purpose of the 18 Ansats: rescuing patients in remote and inaccessible areas.
Each helicopter is equipped with comprehensive medical facilities for resuscitation and emergency care. These Russian-made helicopters have become a true flying ambulance, capable of swiftly reaching those in dire need of medical assistance, saving lives in critical situations.
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One of the most prominent instances demonstrating the importance of the Zimbabwe Air Ambulance Service occurred in July 2023.
A 54-year-old road traffic accident victim in Bindura was airlifted to Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals in Harare. A team of Russian and Zimbabwean paramedics swiftly responded, utilising one of the Ansat medical helicopters that had been provided by the Russian Helicopters Holding Company.
This operation showcased the service’s effectiveness in transporting patients with injuries and fractures to receive prompt and specialised medical care.
A Missed Opportunity for Musician Garry Mapanzure
Tragically, in October 2023, Afro Pop musician Garry Mapanzure met with a horrific car accident. He was in critical condition and desperately needed urgent medical attention.
However, despite the potential for an air ambulance to reach him swiftly, Garry Mapanzure’s fate took a devastating turn due to financial constraints. Mars Zimbabwe, the ambulance service, allegedly demanded a substantial upfront payment of US$2.9k to transport him from Masvingo to Harare.
The delay in immediate medical care and transport resulted in Garry’s tragic passing, highlighting the importance of a well-funded and accessible air ambulance service.
Had an air ambulance been able to reach him without financial constraints, Garry Mapanzure might have had a better chance of survival, underscoring the critical role of timely emergency medical services in saving lives.
- Rostec assists Zim establish Africa’s first air ambulance service – The Herald
- Published on May 26, 2023, by Herald Correspondent.
- Air ambulance to the rescue – The Herald
- Published on July 12, 2023, by Ivan Zhakata, Herald Correspondent.
- “He Could Have Lived But You Deprived Him”: Hillary Makaya Blames Mars Zimbabwe For Garry Mapanzure’s Death – iHarare
- Published on October 13, 2023, by Audrey L Ncube.