The 104 vehicles, ambulance for rural areas under Fixed Day Health Services (FDHS), are off the road when the coastal districts are in the grip of fear from cyclone Thane.
As many as 186 ambulances in coastal districts have been lying idle in government hospitals etc., as the 104 staff have been on agitation for the last one month. More than 1800 staff working in nine coastal districts of the State are on agitation path.
They are agitating at Indira Park in Hyderabad from Nov. 28. According to information 20 vehicles each are functioning in Nellore, Prakasam, Krishna, Visakhapatnam, and Srikakulam districts. There are 24 vehicles each in Guntur and East Godavari; while Vizianagaram has 19 vehicles and West Godavari has 21 vehicles. Two vehicles are stationed at Challapalli and Avanigadda which are close to the sea in Krishna district. Avanigadda, generally, takes the brunt whenever cyclone or storm strikes the district.
“The government has asked the Community Health and Nutrition Centres Health Centres (PHCs) to continue the 104 services. But, none of the ambulances is functioning,” says A. Prasad of 104 Contract Employees Union.
“The government has not contacted any of the104 employees to join the duties in view of severe cyclone,” says V.Santhi Kumar, a 104 employee in Krishna district. Each 104 ambulance has a pharmacist, lab technician and data entry operator apart from driver. More than 120 employees work in 14 locations in 104 services in Krishna district, he adds.
When contacted, District Medical and Health Officer (DMHO) J. Sarasijakshi confirmed that 104 ambulances were off the road. “Baring one or two drivers, none of them were working,” she says. However, she added that 108 ambulances were kept ready and an ambulance was stationed at Avanigadda to meet emergencies.
Keywords: cyclone Thane