The govt-introduced initiative seeks to bring medical services to even the most rural parts of the state

Andhras feeder ambulances are delivering medical services to remote areasImages: By arrangement
news Health care Tuesday, July 03, 2018 - 19:35

The state government of Andhra Pradesh’s initiative to provide instant medical services to interior tribal areas is seemingly yielding better results. Patients from remote and inaccessible Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA) areas can call 108 and get a ‘feeder’ ambulance or a bike ambulance.

Feeder ambulance services were inaugurated in March this year across seven ITDA  agencies in the state with as many as 122 feeder services being allocated.These new services have been introduced with the intention of reducing the time taken by 108 ambulances to reach critical patients and pregnant women in the interior tribal areas.

The feeders are equipped with first aid equipment, drugs, surgical consumables. The details of services and monitoring of fleet movement is captured in real-time.

In order to prevent unprecedented situations, the state government of Andhra Pradesh has taken up the initiative to provide feeder ambulances to remote and agency areas, such as Paderu, where instances of inadequacy of and delay in medical services due to poor road connectivity have been frequently reported.

Speaking to TNM Seedari Srinu, an Adivasi resident from Ganugolu Hamlet in G Madugula mandal which falls under Paderu agency, said that the feeder ambulance services are much faster than regular ambulance services.

According to Medical and Health Department officials the feeders will have all the medical equipment which general ambulances have. The feeder would be attached to a stretcher with a safety guard in place.

“These ambulances are able to go into interior hamlets unlike bigger ambulance services and now many of us are able to use them to go to our local primary health centers,” added Seedari.

He further added that an increase in the number of ambulances would help to reach more people in rural areas.

Paderu ITDA alone has 11 mandals with more than 250 villages and each village has a number of tribal habitants.

When asked if the feeder ambulances are serving their purpose Seedari said, “They're functioning well, but they should coordinate feeder ambulances with regular ambulances so patients can be managed well until they can be taken to another hospital, as required.”

Speaking to TNM Vishakapatanam District Medical Health Officer (DMHO) Dr R Ramesh said that Paderu agency currently has 42 feeder ambulances, the highest of any area, to address medical problems in interior tribal areas with poor connectivity.

“Medical equipment with all sorts of lifesaving drugs are available in feeder ambulances. The pilots were appointed after training with 108 emergency services centre, pilots will be capable of dealing with medical emergencies,” he explained.

Balu Gadi, a Rythu Swarajya Vedika activist who works different marginalized communities in the area stated that increasing such services in proportion to the area and population would also provide employment opportunities to people, in addition to ensuring medical services reach these areas.

“While this is a welcoming move towards Adivasis betterment, a mere 42 feeder services to more than 250 villages of 11 mandals is not enough, the government must give three vehicles to a Gram Panchayat," he said.

It has been stated that approximately Rs 2100 is spent per day on each feeder ambulance.

Dr R Ramesh stated that the services are being met with good response at present and that there are plans to increase the number of vehicles accordingly.

TNM reached out to Paderu ITDA Project Officer who said that the feeder ambulances are working well and that the government is looking at proposals to increase the number of vehicles in function.