Red Cross ‘Flying Doctors’ upgrade medical rescue aircraft - ‘diamond support’ for Air Mercy Service

The SA Red Cross Air Mercy Service (AMS) today unveiled its refitted addition to its fleet of specialist medical rescue aircraft. The Red Cross AMS provides flying doctor services to outlying rural towns of the Northern Cape, and transfers patients by specially converted aircraft to treatment centers in Kimberley.

De Beers (R1.6 million in total), ExecuJet (R942 000) and the National Lottery Board (R850 000) funded the extension and building of a larger hangar at the Kimberley Airport for flying doctor operations and De Beers funding also enabled the medical conversion of the Air Mercy Service Pilatus PC-12aircraft; installing a R800 000 specialist MedPac Medical Interior which better equips the aircrafts medical staff to attend to ill and injured patients. The newly fitted aircraft was launched today at an event attended by Northern Cape government representatives, corporate business leaders and volunteer doctors and medical professionals.

David Noko, the managing director of De Beers Consolidated Mines, noted that working together in partnership with NGO's and the National and Provincial government all supporting such social services enabled more specialist social services to be delivered on a wider basis than would be possible if funding was not shared. He said:" This Red Cross AMS service is one of the projects all our De Beers employees are proud we support as a company because of the huge impact it has in the lives of children, women and the elderly in the rural Northern Cape; providing access to health care as well as training and capacity building for doctors and other health professionals at rural clinics and hospitals in the Province. It is encouraging for the private sector to see this programme grow from strength to strength, providing professional services to thousands of people in need each year, through the partnership between the SA Red Cross AMS, the Northern Cape Department of Health and De Beers." He concluded;" We have always been committed to investing in communities in which we operate and we support the government in fighting poverty, unemployment, and in the provision of education and health care." In the last year, De Beers spent around R80 million helping over 350 social investment projects in South Africa, mostly in communities near diamond mining operations in four provinces. "

Photographer: Roger Sedres