JEYPORE: Boat ambulance was formally launched for residents of Kolab reservoir’s cut-off villages in Lamtaput block on Monday. Over 20,000 people of 21 villages in five panchayats of the block - Kumar Gondhana, Banamaliput, Umbrel, Tikarpoda and Dabuguda - will expectedly benefit from the service. The ambulance, which was lying unused for months, will be available across seven ghats of the reservoir, to ferry patients from the cut-off villages to various points from where they can be shifted by 108 ambulance to Lamtaput community health centre (CHC), about three km from the Kolab bank.
Four persons including two drivers and as many paramedics will man the ambulance that has life saving equipment and medicines. The State government had facilitated the boat ambulance for the cut-off villages spread across the Kolab reservoir.
A private firm Ziqitza Healthcare Limited, which is operating 108 and 102 ambulance services in the State, had supplied the boat ambulance at a cost of Rs 38 lakh to the government. However, it could not be immediately pressed into service for want of technical verification. It lay unused at the banks of the reservoir for over six months until a technical team visited a few days back and gave a green signal to the district administration to use the service for public use.
Koraput CDMO Makarananda Behura said the boat ambulance will be crucial for shifting pregnant women for delivery to nearby hospital. “Earlier, they had difficulty commuting across the reservoir in emergency situations. But the doorstep boat ambulance service will resolve their longstanding woes,” the CDMO told TNIE.
The Health department had provided bike ambulance service in inaccessible pockets of Koraput district in September. Earlier this year, the State Government spent Rs 5.4 crore on six boat ambulances which were launched in four districts - two each were allocated to Kendrapara and Malkangiri and one each for Kalahandi and Koraput districts. Except the one in the district, the others are operational.