By Karamat Ali
Motorbike Ambulance Service – a brainchild of Government of the Punjab has achieved a remarkable success by saving 65 percent expenditures of Ambulance Service of Rescue 1122. The dream based on Turkish Model has come true as Motorbike Ambulance Service has rescued over 30000 emergency victims within short span of over 3 months in 8 divisions of the Punjab since its launching from the Punjab Capital. Now, this project has attracted international attention as SAARC countries also intend to replicate this service in their regions.
The first knot in this connection was tied between two brother countries including Pakistan and Turkey on September 17, 2017 during a meeting held in historic city of Istanbul. The Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif convinced the Deputy Prime Minister Rajab Akdghan that the Government of the Punjab – Pakistan – interested to start Motorbike Ambulance Service in a largest province of Pakistan in collaboration with the Turkish Health Ministry. Turkish Deputy Prime Minister agreed and uttered historic words, “It is our responsibility to help our brothers in Pakistan in the hour of need”. The main purpose of this public welfare project was supposed to be launched to pick injured persons or to deal such emergencies in congested areas of cities where the access to ambulances remains a big issue. The motorbikes rush to narrow streets, small roads or poorly accessed localities and the four-wheeler ambulances follow the bikes up to main roads to receive the injured from bikers to shift them to hospitals concerned. The Chief Minister of the Punjab gave a task for the execution of this project to Director General Punjab Emergency Service (Rescue 1122) Dr Rizwan Naseer (SI) and had approved approximately budget Rs842 million for implementation of Motorbike Ambulance project. First free Motorbike Ambulance Service (MAS) was launched in metropolitan Lahore by Chief Minister of Punjab Shahbaz Sharif on 10th October, 2017 also remained successful in order to ensure timely response to emergencies during traffic jams and in congested areas of major cities of Punjab. Owing to the visionary leadership of Director General Punjab Emergency Service (Rescue 1122) Dr Rizwan Naseer, the Motorbike Ambulance Service has been lunched successfully in eight Divisional Headquarters of Punjab including Lahore, Multan, Shaiwal, Gujranwala, Bahawalpur, Faisalabad, D.G Khan and Sargodha.
Not only Motorbike Ambulance Service is providing medical care to ailing humanity and emergency victims but also unemployed paramedic graduate 900 youngsters have been recruited whose are earning respectable livelihood. All paramedical staff was employed purely on merit and transparent manner through third party National Testing Service (NTS) after qualifying written, physical, psychometrics and skills tests. As many as 900 Motorbikes were approved by the Government of the Punjab which was purchased according to the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) rules through open competitions. All motorbikes were designed and prepared in form of ambulances according to the international standards under the supervision of British and Turkish health & emergency experts.
The Motorbike Ambulance Service along with detail of necessary medical equipment including Trauma/ airways kits, Pulse Oximeter, Blood Pressure Monitor, Stethoscope, Glucometer, Splints, cervical Collar, Portable Oxygen Cylinder has been provided to ensure effective service delivery and improved emergency response in congested areas especially during peak hours.
Rescue 1122 is providing emergency services in all over the Punjab and has managed a large number of emergencies and has rescued millions of emergency victims and saved losses worth billions of rupees so far.
All Staff were trained in Emergency Services Academy which has become a center of excellence not only for Pakistan but also a model for SAARC region. Training was imparted them for six months in purpose built training center with simulators for training in life saving skills in the centre, particularly in the field of Basic Rescue Course which includes emergency Medical, Rescue, Fire and physical fitness training. All trainees were also imparted hands on practice like Medical First Responder, Collapsed Structure Search & Rescue, Training for Instructors for capacity building and career development. The Instructors for this Academy were trained through the Enhancement of Emergency Response (PEER) program of USAID to conduct Medical First Responder (MFR), Collapsed Structure Search & Rescue (CSSR) courses, Training for Instructors (TFI) and Community Action for Disaster Response (CADRE) courses.
MAS reduced the burden of ambulances as 36179 emergency victims were provided emergency first aid at the incident site by professionally trained MAS staff, therefore no ambulance or shifting was required to hospitals, thus leading to significant cost saving and burden of hospitals. This Service has so far efficiently responded to all kind of emergencies in all eight divisional Headquarters with an average response time of 4.5 minutes. The Director General Rescue 1122 has said that the Motorbike Ambulance Service project has been implemented in all nine divisional headquarters in 55 percent of total budget which is self-explanatory of its transparency and merit. He further disclosed that out of 1200 emergencies in all district of the Punjab around 65 percent emergencies were responded by Motorbike Ambulances which are saving a huge amount of expenditure in form of POL.
*The writer is Assistant Public Relations Officer at Rescue 1122, Punjab and can be reached at karamatalishahid@@gmail.com