Himachal Pradesh launches free ambulance service

December 25th, 2010 - 7:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Shimla, Dec 25 (IANS) Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal Saturday launched a free ambulance service here to provide timely medical aid to people in emergencies.With this launch, the residents in Shimla, Sirmaur, Solan, Una, Hamirpur, Kangra and Bilaspur districts would be able to get round-the-clock ambulance service by calling at a toll free number 108.

Principal Secretary (Health) P.C.Dhiman told IANS that initially seven districts would be covered and the service would soon be extended to the remaining districts, except Kinnaur, Lahaul and Spiti districts.

“The ambulances are furnished with life-saving equipments like automatic external defibrillator and drugs like anti-snake venom,” he said.

For the service, the state government has tied up with Hyderabad-based GVK-EMRI (Emergency Management Research Institute) under a public-private partnership mode. The project is jointly funded by the National Rural Health Mission and the state government.

Himachal Pradesh is the 11th state in the country and the second in north India after Uttrakhand to start this service.

The idea for the emergency response service in the state was conceived in December 2007 soon after the Bharatiya Janta Party came to power.

It will be a major relief for the people of the state, where more than 800 people are killed in road accidents and around 5,000 get injured every year.

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