What started as a healthcare initiative in Andhra Pradesh under the Aarogyasri scheme initiated by late chief minister Dr YS Rajasekhara Reddy has taken complete shape, as his son and political successor YS Jagan Mohan Reddy launched a fleet of 1,088 high-tech ambulances on Wednesday. The vehicles worth Rs 201 crore for the '104' and '108' emergency services will help provide quick and better medical care in the state.
CM Jagan Mohan Reddy flagged off the fleet amid a moment of nostalgia of as Rajasekhara Reddy’s voice played out in the background in the '108' ambulances, and the ‘hospitals on wheels’ equipped with life-support systems moved with the unmistakable siren with the aim to reach every corner of Andhra.
The response time for the 108 service is 15 minutes and for 104 it is 20 minutes, which, experts say, will help in ferrying a patient within the golden hour and save many lives.
For the 108 service, 412 new vehicles were purchased, adding to the existing 336 ambulances. The new vehicles are equipped with basic life support (BLS) and advanced life support (ALS), and in 26 vehicles neonatal services are also provided.
A BLS vehicle includes a spine board stretcher, scoop stretcher, wheelchair, bag mask and multipara monitor, while the ALS ones also have ventilators, and in the neonatal vehicles incubators are arranged.
With the new fleet pressed into service, the ratio of ambulance to people in Andhra Pradesh has come down from one vehicle for 1,19,454 people to one for 74,609.
The 104 is a mobile medical unit (MMU), and each has one medical officer, data-entry operator, driver, auxiliary nurse midwife (ANM) and Asha worker, and will be attached to the primary health centre (PHC) and will have global positioning system (GPS).
Apart from oxygen cylinders, the new ambulances are equipped with ventilators, infusion pumps, syringe pumps, comfortable stretchers and have provisions for delivery. The vehicles are also enabled with surveillance cameras to ensure proper healthcare monitoring by doctors.
The neonatal vehicles are supported by hospital sick newborn care units (SNCUs). Delivery locations and SNCUs are perfectly mapped to provide early intervention during the transport, which will reduce the infant mortality rate (IMR), say officials. It has been estimated that around 10 to 12% of all newborns require SNCU supportive care.
The 676 MMUs of 104 service will be spread as one vehicle for each mandal. Through these vehicles, 20 types of medical services, including all screening for communicable and non-communicable diseases, will be provided. In all, 744 doctors will be made available for these services and they will visit every village once a month to offer medical services.
The Dr YSR Rahadari Bhadratha programme is also being linked to the 108 service, where any road accident case will be treated for free in any hospital across the state for the first 48 hours and up to Rs 50,000 cost. The amount will be reimbursed by the Dr YSR Aarogyasri Health Care Trust.