The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) on Wednesday rolled out a hi-tech bus with an intensive care unit and oxygen to treat COVID-19 patients on wheels. "The bus is equipped with 5 oxygenated beds, a ventilator, patient monitor system to check blood pressure, ECG and temperature of COVID-19 patients," said Deputy Chief Minister Laxman Savadi, who also holds the transport portfolio.
The ambulance bus was built in-house by the corporation at Rs 10 lakh. The state-run transport corporation is already operating a dozen buses to provide oxygen on wheels to COVID-19 patients across the state. "The 12 buses with oxygen supply are operated in Belagavi, Chitradurga, Chikkaballapur, Chikkmagaluru and Kalaburgi districts," Savadi said, adding the corporation has been directed to provide oxygen buses to all the 31 districts.
"A Hyderabad-based volunteer has offered to provide medical equipment to the oxygen buses for treating COVID-19 patients," he said. This after the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation too had swung into action as it provided relief to COVID-19-19 patients through Oxygen On Wheels bus last week outside city's Victoria Hospital.
BMTC tied up with different NGOs, including Foundation India, to provide free oxygen in a modified non-air conditioned bus. Equipped with two concentrators and four cylinders, six patients can be attended to at one time. It is stationed from 10.30 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily with people getting admitted on first-come-first-served basis by booking on 97310-97191.
While cautioning that these buses should not be viewed as an alternative to hospital bed, many health experts feel that such a service is the need of the hour for patients in the initial period when there is difficulty in getting an oxygen bed.
To expand the service, BMTC has also extended this facility to areas close to Bengaluru.