Can we start an 'Ambulance Movement' in India?I was fortunate enough to take birth in a so-called 'posh' locality of South Calcutta. By the grace of Almighty, I am presently residing in another 'posh' locality in South Delhi. The residents of these localities avail various facilities and benefits provided by the Government, which most of the people of the country can't even imagine. However, even in these localities I have found that it becomes very difficult to take a serious patient to hospital, because of shortage of ambulances. As a result, private ambulance services (with sub-standard facilities) take exorbitant amount to take a patient to the hospital.
While working in Eastern Railway, I was posted in an under-developed area of West Bengal. There I saw a snake-bite patient died while being transported to a hospital at a distance of 5 Kilometre by a rickshaw-van at night. I also noted how pregnant ladies were taken to hospitals for delivery. I noted similar problem in various North-Eastern states. Nobody even dares to think about ambulances in those places!
While working as Administrative Officer in one of the best Govt. hospitals in Delhi, I got an opportunity to know that the budgetary provisions for ambulances in hospitals are minuscule compared to the total budget. The hospital where I used to work had (in 2001-2006) 5 extremely modern ambulances donated by Govt. of Japan, but did not have even a single ambulance from the Hospital's own budget. Almost similar condition prevails in all Govt. hospitals even now.
I feel that if adequate number of ambulances can be made available all over the country, many precious lives can be saved. Govt. can make adequate provision for this purpose. So far as financing of such project/scheme, not only from the budget of Ministry of Health & Family Welfare of the Central Govt. and State Govts. (Health being in the Concurrent List in the Constitution of India), adequate funds can also be provided from the huge unspent amount of the budget of Ministry of Rural Development for this purpose. The project may initially start at the identified under-developed districts of the country, later it can be expanded to cover the entire country.
Let us start an 'Ambulance Movement' in India! I would like to have the suggestions of other Members of ISC in this regard.