May 27, 2022

Made-over ambulances rolled into to resolve the Covid-19 crisis in the health infrastructure

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With the ambulance services being overly-priced, it has become a massive problem for the Covid-19 patients who require an urgent admission to the hospital and urgent care. To bring a little relief to the worsening situation, a Bengaluru-based non-profit organization has provided a solution where they are converting old vans for ambulance services free of cost.
The organization, Drive Without Borders (DWB) has launched its first ambulance, which is basically an old-Omni constituted with a stretcher and two oxygen cylinders. DWB Founder Waseem Memom revealed to DH, “The entire process of conversion took a week. We want to add at least another 10 more such ambulances shortly.”
Memom had identified the problems adhering to the ambulance services right amid the first wave, quite early into the pandemic. Memom stated, “The tales we hear of ambulances charging Rs 30,000 to Rs 40,000 only to drive a distance of four to five km have been heart-rending. The families of the patients have neither the choice nor the luxury of looking for other options because timely medical help is of essence.”
DWBs had the idea of utilizing the old Omnis due to their market availability and affordability. Memom furher said, “You get one for Rs 50,000 to Rs 65,000 and spares are available cheap. Add an imported stretcher that costs about Rs 35,000, cylinders for about Rs 10,000, welding charges, a siren and the RTO charges. Overall, it comes up to about Rs 1.25 lakh per ambulance.”
They are working with the target to raise 12.5 lakh for operation of 10 to 12 ambulance amid the emergencies. He said, “Later, we will donate these to charitable hospitals. If someone wants to donate their Omnis that are in good condition, it would be helpful.”
For the functioning of the first ambulance, Memom had already selected an attendant and a driver. He said, “I have spoken to a lot of school van drivers who are now without work. Funds for the ambulances are being raised through DWB’s Facebook groups.”
Memom has been active in the motor transport space. He said, “We had worked towards safeguarding the rights of motorists through campaigns such as One Nation One Road Tax. This legal battle was in response to the levy of lifetime road tax for non-Karnataka vehicles.”
He further added, “We have always felt it our primary duty to provide whatever assistance we can in times of a humanitarian crisis. We provided relief during the floods in Chennai, Kerala and Kodagu, and rations/toiletries during the nationwide lockdown last year.”

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