Notwithstanding its tall claims over making much awaited 102-108 critical care ambulance service operational, the Department of health and Medical Education is yet to make any headway in this regard.
The 102 and 108 free ambulance services project aimed to deal with emergencies and ferrying of referral patients from one place to another was conceived in 2011. As many as 416 ambulances were supposed to be rolled out under this project. However, it has missed multiple deadlines over the years.
In January this year, authorities of the Health Department decided that service will be rolled out by the end of the April. While later the final deadline was extended to November 2019.
An official of National Health Mission programme told KNS that Jammu and Kashmir government has procured around 120 critical care ambulances so far.
“We can’t make them operational in absence of internet,” the official said.
The number 102 and 108 are toll-free and can be dialed from any phone, be it mobile phone or landline.
The official said that the project also got delayed as there is lack of engineering wing within Health Department.
“We don’t have adequate trained man-power who can undertake such tasks. This project also got delayed because of financial shortcomings,” the official said.
The 102-108 free ambulance service would provide round the clock assistance to patients in J&K.
The National Health Mission (NHM) was designated as the executive agency of the project. It was supposed to release funds in order to start the project in J&K.
Under this project, there was to be retrofitting of 50 ambulances for advanced life support (with all lifesaving protocols), 66 of basic life support and fleet of 300 ambulances for GPS devices.
In January this year, as per a document of the Health Department, various stakeholders were assigned different roles for running the project.
A senior official said that these ambulances would be made operational soon in the new Union Territory.
“The project has got hampered because of lack of internet services. These ambulances can be made operational only by internet services,” he said.