Himachal Pradesh will launch a free ambulance service this week to provide timely medical aid to its residents during emergencies, Health Minister Rajeev Bindal said here on Monday.
“The Atal Swasthya Sewa named after former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee would be launched on his birthday (Dec 25) initially in Shimla, Hamirpur, Sirmaur, Solan, Una and Bilaspur districts,” Bindal told IANS.
“The project would be extended in all districts, except Kinnaur and Lahaul and Spiti,” he added.
To launch the ambulance service, the state government has tied up with Hyderabad-based GVK-EMRI (Emergency Management Research Institute) under a PPP (public, private, partnership) mode. The project is jointly funded by the National Rural Health Mission and the state government.
Himachal Pradesh will be the 11th state in the country and the second in north India after Uttrakhand to start this service.
The idea for the emergency response service in the state was conceived soon after the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) came to power in December 2007.
It will be a major relief for the people of the state, where more than 800 people die in road accidents and around 5,000 get injured every year.
A GVK-EMRI official said that every ambulance would have an emergency medical technician to give first-aid to victim before getting them admitted to the nearest hospital.
“These ambulances will not be used for hospital patients who are referred from one hospital to another,” he said.