By Deeba Shahnaz Akhter
The Punjab Emergency Service Rescue 1122 rescuer over 5.4 million victims of different emergency and took remarkable and key initiatives in Year 2017 which includes Patient Transfer Service (PTS) & Ambulance Services Desk in hospitals, Motorbike Ambulance Service (MAS), inauguration of Emergency Services Academy, Launching of 104 & 70 meter high Aerial Platforms, Rescue Mohafiz (Volunteers) Program,1st Provincial Community Emergency Response Exercise for Rescue Mohafiz /Community Emergency Response Teams (CERTs), Establishment of Managers Training Center (MTC) and Capacity building of Rescue Officers and Instructors in collaboration with Turkish Ministry of Health.
The Government of Punjab handed over Patient Transfer Service (PTS) to Rescue 1122 from Health Department with 512 ambulances to ensure 24/7 availability of ambulances to facilitate the shifting of emergency/ critically ill patients from primary & secondary heath facilities to higher/ specialized hospitals. More than 1, 83,000 patients have been facilitated since February, 2017 through a robust mechanism established by Rescue 1122. In order to facilitate the patients and regulate the PTS ambulances in coordination with public hospitals, Ambulance Service Desks have also been established at DHQ and teaching hospitals all across Punjab. It is also a fact that out of 512 ambulances handed over by Health Departments only 103 was in good condition and PTS emergencies data revealed that 83% of total patients’ referrals were done due to non availability of facilities for advance treatment. Furthermore, highest out of district transportation of patients were made from District Sheikhupura to Lahore whereas, the highest transportation of patients within the district was carried out by District Multan.
A newly launched Motorbike Ambulance Service (MAS) initiative by Chief Minister Punjab 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. MAS reduced the burden of ambulances as 11117 emergencies out of 16917 emergencies 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 major divisional Headquarters of Lahore, Multan, Gujranwala and Sahiwal with an average response time of 4.5 minutes.
The establishment of purpose built Emergency Services Academy (ESA) is a model in the SAARC region that has unique and modern training facilities to impart emergency management training in the fields of medical, fire & rescue, water rescue, health and safety, community safety and specialized urban search and rescue, where the rescuers are being trained on modern simulators of deep well rescue, lake, burn house, fire tower, fire fit tower, swimming pool and rubble field.
Launching of 104 & 70 meter high Aerial Platforms also enhanced the operational capacity of Rescue 1122 in order to smooth conduct of fire and rescue operations from high-rise building.
Rescue 1122 also launched Rescue Mohafiz Program to register and train volunteers to establish Community Emergency Response Teams (CERTs) at Union Councils level in year 2017. Over 100,000 Rescue Mohafiz (Volunteers) have been registered and trained 39000 Rescue Mohafiz in Community Emergency Response Skills to develop healthy, safe, resilient and prosperous communities in Punjab.
The 1st Provincial Community Emergency Response Exercise-2017 was also organized by Rescue 1122 at ESA in which CERTs from all districts exhibited their skills, the event was highly appreciated at all forums. The best teams from District Chiniot, Layyah and Lahore were awarded cash Prizes, certificates and shields to acknowledge their contribution.
The Capacity building of the officers & instructors of Rescue 1122 also remained a priority of the Government of Punjab to improve standard of emergency services. Moreover, 63 Rescue Officers & Instructors have been trained as Master trainers in 2017 from Turkey on “Emergency Medical Services and Disaster Management”. Besides that Manager Training Center (MTC), Lahore has also been established on 21st April, 2017 at ESA for effective continuous human resource development and 206 Rescue Officers were trained in this center as competent managers are essential for success of any system.
The all above mentioned initiatives taken by Rescue 1122 with the support of Government of Punjab remained highly beneficial in order to strengthen the Punjab Emergency Service and provision of right to emergency care to every citizen without any discrimination. The continuous struggle of the Founder Director General Dr Rizwan Naseer and his professional team added key initiatives of this year in the history of the Emergency Service and its performance is self explanatory.