Daijiworld Media Network - Mangaluru
Mangaluru, Jun 5: It is exactly a month since the launch of state ministry's ambitious bike ambulance service in Mangaluru and Ullal, but the bikes are yet to get on road.
An initiative implemented through GVK-EMRI, the organization that is running the '108 Arogya Kavacha' ambulance service, the bike ambulance service was flagged off by U T Khadar, minister for health and family welfare, at Circuit House on May 5, 2015.
The government has spent nearly Rs 2.5 lac on each of the bike ambulances. Avenger 220CC bikes have been modified into two-wheeler ambulances, and each bike carries about 53 life saving drugs packed in its rear top box. A portable oxygen cylinder, glucometer, fingertip pulse oximeter, nebulizer, digital BP apparatus, laryngoscope, masks, roller bandage gauge, and cotton rolls are all available on each of these ambulances.
The major problem hampering the bike ambulance service here is the lack of trained personnel to operate the bikes.
When Daijiworld contacted Dr Ramakrishna Rao, DHO of Mangaluru, about the non-functioning of the bike ambulance service, he said, "I have already talked to the programme manager of GVK-EMRI. One batch of bike ambulances has been selected and trained already. We need professional people who are able to do the job and within this weekend we are expecting two technicians to arrive in Mangaluru and start the job. They will be able to ride the bike and respond effectively during any accident. One bike ambulance will be stationed under MCC limits and another in Ullal."
He further said, "Bike ambulances are very useful, especially in interior regions where there is no access to four-wheelers. The bike will carry all the emergency tools, first aid kits, and pain relief drugs. In case the injury is serious, they will be responsible for summoning the four-wheeler 108 ambulance. The reason for launching the bike ambulance is to stabilize the patient by providing first aid.
"The minister is in touch with us and he has promised to provide trained technicians soon," he added.
"The bike ambulance is capable of reaching the spot within 20 minutes after receiving the call. The 108 ambulance is providing excellent service to the people and so many lives have been saved. If there is a need, we will increase the number of bike ambulances for Mangaluru," added Dr Rao.
On asked a question about the strike planned by 108 ambulance staff, he responded, "They have given an application urging fulfillment of their demands and threatened to go on strike if it is not done. They want salary hike, salary payment on time, and a few other demands which they have placed before the health ministry. As of now, the 108 ambulance service is functioning normallly."
Minister U T Khadar was not available for response despite several attempts to contact him.
Soon after Daijiworld published this report, Mohan Patil, regional manager (operations) for 108 ambulance service (for nine districts including Dakshina Kananda) contacted daijiworld and said that the bike ambulances have started operating from June 4.
"The bike ambulance service has started with effect from Thursday June 4 afternoon. Two bike ambulances are presently stationed, one near Ullal police station, Thokkottu and another near city corporation Lalbagh, Mangaluru. Both the bike ambulances are equipped with emergency medical technicians (EMT) and other facilities. One can avail the bike ambulance service by calling 108," he said.