De Beers Funds Air Mercy Services

The South Africa Red Cross Air Mercy Service unveiled its refitted addition to its fleet of specialist medical rescue aircraft. De Beers donated R1.6 million($220,000) to help fund the extension and building of a larger hangar at Kimberley Airport for flying doctor operations, including the medical conversion of the AMS Pilatus PC-12 aircraft; installing a specialist MedPac Medical Interior, which better equips the aircrafts medical staff to attend to ill and injured patients.

John Stone, CEO of SA Red Cross Air Mercy Service (left), 
Mary Thuntsi, acting HOD Health Services in the Northern Cape, 
and David Noko at the launch of the new aircraft medical interior.

The Red Cross AMS provides flying doctor services to rural towns of the Northern Cape, and transfers patients by specially converted aircraft to treatment centers in Kimberley. Other funding for the medical rescue service came from ExecuJet ($130,000) and the National Lottery Board ($117,116). The newly fitted aircraft was launched Wednesday at an event attended by Northern Cape government representatives, corporate business leaders, and volunteer doctors and medical professionals.

The Red Cross AMS used the donations for infrastructure which supports the almost seven thousand medical flights flown each year, volunteer pilots, and medical personnel. These services provide both routine healthcare and specialized or emergency medical assistance to thousands of people living in the Northern Cape.

David Noko, MD of De Beers Consolidated Mines, and John Stone, 
CEO SA Red Cross Air Mercy Service, viewing the new aircraft medical interior.

“We live in a country where the needs of communities are enormous,” said John Stone, Red Cross Red Cross chief executive officer. “It is impossible for us as individuals to begin to contribute to meeting these needs, but if we join hands and work together we will be able to rise above the challenges and make a significant difference to the quality of lives of those less fortunate than ourselves.”

Stne continued: “The cooperation between a non profit organization such as the SA Red Cross Air Mercy Service, the government and the private sector such as is witnessed here today should be an inspiration and sign of hope for a better future. De Beers was the first corporate sponsor of this program way back in 1996 and we are proud that we, together, have been able to make a difference to access to health care for the Northern Cape Communities.”

“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,” said David Noko, the managing director of De Beers Consolidated Mines. “It is encouraging for the private sector to see this program 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.”

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