Following official hand over of 7 brand new Toyota Land Cruiser Ambulances by the Japanese Embassy in Honiara to Ministry of Health, last month, 7 provincial health drivers who have been tasked to man the vehicles have successfully completed the Ambulance and Four-Wheel Drive training organized by Health in partnership with Ela Motors.
The drivers were taught on the fundamental principles of four wheel driving as per Ela Motors Student Manual purposely designed for interested groups and organizations who would like to ensure knowledge and skills of their drivers to safely and skillfully operate the vehicles.
Mr. Democrito E. Sayman, Ela Motors General Manager (GM), and Service Department Job Controller Mr. Hendrick Mesia facilitated the training.
Mr. Mesia during the training explained that since these Toyota land cruisers will be used as ambulances for emergency operations, handling them in terms of acceleration, deceleration, turns and stops will be very different from other normal vehicles thus the training is important to ensure safety of drivers, passengers and pedestrians including for other vehicles.
“In most cases, drivers of such vehicles do not really know the safety protocols whilst driving the vehicles. What you will learn from our session will place you in a must better position to discharge your duties in a more safe and comfortable way, so learn as much as you can and always revisit the manual to refresh your knowledge and skills and ensure faithfulness in implementing what you have learn”, said Mr. Mesia.
Ela Motors General Manager acknowledged the wonderful work of the Ministry of Health and government as a whole in caring for those sick with COVID-19 and other health issues and said that Ela Motors is very pleased to receive the request from health to assist in this regard.
“Thank you Ministry of Health and we wish the drivers all the best and safety when out in the field shuttling the sick from their homes to the hospitals and health clinics”, said Mr. Sayman.
Meanwhile, Guadalcanal Provincial Health Logistics Team Leader, Mr. Eric Kiko one of the participants at the training said the training was an eye opener and very useful in enhancing their capacity to handle the Toyota land cruiser ambulances
“The training has opened us to new understanding on how this brand of vehicles work, some quick and easy skills to ensure they are maintained and more importantly how we can operate them safely. Truly useful”, said Mr. Kiko.
The seven drivers will this week return back to their provinces- Malaita, Guadalcanal, Makira, Western, Isabel and Temotu provinces.
Health Permanent Secretary Mrs. Pauline McNeil said that the vehicles were truly a blessing for the country as getting the sick on time to nearby hospital for medical attention is crucial for preserving health and saving lives. “This has been a gap identified by the Ministry together with our provincial teams and since last year we have been working hard to secure support for these. This will even be more useful as Honiara is facing 2nd wave of COVId-19 infections with potential to spread to the provinces whereby COVID-19 patients needing urgent medical attention can swiftly be shuttled to the hospitals from their homes by these ambulances”, said Mrs. McNeil.
She advised the drivers and everyone who will be using these new vehicles to take ownership and responsibility of these new ambulances. “It is now ours, for the benefit of ourselves, our families, communities, provinces and country as whole. Use it for its intended use and take care of it so it can also serve us well into the future’, said Mrs. McNeil.