Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif on Tuesday inaugurated a ‘motorcycle ambulance service’ that will operate in the city as a pilot project.
As many as 200 people have been trained to drive the well-equipped two-wheelers to facilitate those in an emergency at their doorstep in Lahore. The Punjab Emergency Service, known by its Rescue 1122 nomenclature, will operate the service which is being hailed as the first such facility in South Asia, and extend its scope to all over the province by the end of this year.
The chief minister said a team of 900 ‘first responders’ would be able to reach remote and narrow areas of the city where a four-wheeler ambulance could not go. He said the service had been launched in Lahore to start with and in the next phase, they would expand it to the nine divisional headquarters of the province.
He said the motorcycle ambulance rescuers would administer first aid and if they will find the patient in a serious condition, they will alert the principal ambulance to transfer them to hospitals for proper treatment.
The new service, the chief minister said, had been introduced with a different approach. “The idea came to my mind when an ailing woman of Kasur could not avail herself of an ambulance and eventually died in Jinnah Hospital. I immediately decided to hand over the ambulance service of hospitals to the Rescue 1122 and now the system of shifting patients (to the hospitals) has been improved,” he said.
He said with time the first-of-its-kind project in South Asia having a staff of 900 motorcyclists would work in nine divisions and later it would also be expanded to the 36 districts.
A motorcycle ambulance responder, Muhammad Sufiyan, told Dawn that the Punjab Emergency Service had started the project to deal with emergencies by accessing narrow lanes and alleys. He said it had been connected to the Command and Control System established at LOS near Shama Chowk and each responder had got six-month training at the Emergency Services Academy that included one month’s medical training from hospitals.
He said the authorities had installed trackers in their motorcycle ambulances to check the response time, mileage and location of the rescuer at the system. He said initially a pilot project of 200 motorcycle ambulances had been started in Lahore and they would work in two shifts. The city had been divided into four zones and key points had been established to attain maximum objectives, he said.
He said the vehicle was equipped to deal with emergencies; it has first-aid kit, burn kit, Automated External Defibrillator (AED), Ambu bag, Glasco meter, pulse oximeter, nebuliser and bandages of different types to cover injury and bleeding.
The chief minister congratulated Rescue 1122 DG Dr Rizwan Naseer for materialising the project in just six to seven months. He also thanked Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Turkey’s health minister for giving training to the rescue staff.
He said no department could match the work of the Rescue 1122 in the last 10 to 12 years. “Their spirit reminds us of the late Abdul Sattar Edhi who despite his illness went to help the distressed during disasters,” he said.
Dr Rizwan Naseer said the scope of the Rescue 1122 would be extended to all the tehsils by the end of this year. He said their response time was in accordance with the international standards and they had rescued more than five million people to date. He said timely rescue operations in the province had saved Rs240 billion worth of damage.
Dr Naseer said the new service had been launched with 900 motorbikes to deal with emergencies at the doorsteps.
International expert Edward Jorge Burn described it as a unique initiative of the Punjab government.
The Swedish ambassador, Ms Ingrid Johansson, said a wonderful initiative had been taken under the leadership of Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif. She said the remarkable feature is that the service would benefit the common people.
Courtesy: Dawn News