Pune: As India’s COVID-19 tally crosses the 18 lac mark, the situation of the country’s healthcare system remains a topic of huge concern. Especially the lack or unavailability of ambulances is largely putting the lives of people at stake every day. There have been many such cases in the recent past, where patients have lost their lives while waiting for hours for an ambulance to arrive. And with Pune being the hub of the pandemic, serious lapses in the timely arrival of ambulances have been rampant. To make matters worse, many private ambulance service providers have been overcharging patients.
The government, under its National Ambulance Service, runs close to 25,000 units in India. According to a report, private fleet owners (many of whom rely on an ‘aggregation model’), social and political organisations and NGOs operate over 10,000 ambulances, taking the total pool of emergency wagons to just about 35,000. The shortage of ambulances and proper medical facilities is affecting the emergency care services and if this is not dealt with now, the situation is going to get even worse.
Current manufacturing facilities are also unable to fulfil the demand to produce the number of ambulances that are needed. In order to take some load off the situation, Pune-based automotive manufacturing company, Reddy Customs has set a target to manufacture up to 300 ambulances in FY 2020-21. These ambulances will be classified into A, C, and D categories – Medical First Responder, Basic Life Support Ambulance, and Advance Life Support Ambulance, respectively.
These ambulances are going to be built as per ARAI guidelines. According to the CEO of Reddy Customs, Srinivas Reddy, these ambulances will be enabled with an app that will work as a tracking device for the driver and the person who calls for it. This is done to avoid any kind of time discrepancy. “We will also provide a built-in automatic sanitisation system to make sure of hygiene and safety,” says Reddy.
The ambulances will have several important features in the interiors such as an exhaust fan, washbasin, a cabinet for storing medical consumables, separate doctor’s seat with a lap belt, squad bench for paramedic staff or relatives, sidewalls reinforced to mount ventilators, suction pumps, etc. “Majority of ambulances available with hospitals currently are not well-equipped or lack a proper structure of facilities onboard. Since we are a customisation company, we are making sure that our ambulances meet top quality along with the latest technology in terms of equipment,” Reddy adds.
The main goal of the company is to fill the gap in emergency infrastructure that is the need of the hour; produce a large number of such ambulances that are developed with the latest technology.