In a bid to improve health care facilities, the government of Pakistan’s heartland Punjab province has launched the motorbike ambulance service.
The free Motorbike Ambulance Service has been launched to provide timely emergency service in congested areas of the province where a proper ambulance would struggle to make it in time.
Initially, around 200 ambulances have been included in Rescue 1122 fleet in Lahore city. However, this number will soon increase to 900 motorcycle ambulances in 9 districts of the province.
Punjab chief minister Shehbaz Sharif formally inaugurated the free Motorbike Ambulance Service in Lahore on Tuesday.
For the first time in Pakistan, people living in rural and populated areas with narrow streets will have access to ambulances as the Punjab government is taking practical steps to improve the health care system, he said.
The ambulances have been introduced keeping in view the distant and remote areas of Lahore which are inaccessible to usual ambulances. The motorbike ambulances will play a critical role to meet emergency situations in populated areas. “These motorcycle ambulances equipped with all essential medical accessories will be driven by professionally-trained drivers” Sharif said.
The service which has been started to serve people of the province will soon be extended to every city of the province.
The service would pilot for another two weeks in the city, before being completely launched by the end of this year, according to Rescue 1122 director general Dr Rizwan Naseer.
The bike ambulances are equipped with foldable stretcher, trauma kits, burn kits, automatic external defibrillators, portable oxygen, pulse odometer and glucose meter.
Around 300 motorbike ambulances will be provided to Lahore division with 100 each in Rawalpindi, Multan, Gujranwala and Faisalabad divisions and 50 each in Bahawalpur, Dera Ghazi Khan, Sargodha and Sahiwal divisions, it was announced.
“For patients in critical condition, these emergency medical technicians on motorcycle ambulances will carry the patient out on a stretcher to the point accessible for ambulances,” said Dr Naseer.
For now, these motorcycles would travel in pairs. The respondents will have first-aid kits and will have medical knowledge. If needed, they can call nearby ambulances for help.
Speaking at the launch, Sharif said the idea for the service was derived from the UK, Turkey and Japan based models. The service has been launched with support from the Turkish government. Sharif thanked Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Turkey’s health minister for training the rescue staff.
The medical staff and technicians hired for motorbike ambulances services have been trained on modern lines in Turkey and the service is a major achievement of Pakistan’s medical emergency services.
Rania Ahmad, a doctor in Lahore, has appreciated the free ambulance service, saying that “Motorbike ambulances are best suited for a city like Lahore which has many narrow alleys and remote areas as bikes can reach many areas that are inaccessible for bigger vehicles.”