58 vehicles to roll out in some months as part of 108 network

In a bid to reach out to people living in hilly areas, the State government has purchased 58 four-wheel drive ambulances for deployment in tribal villages across the State.

Officials of Tamil Nadu Health Systems Project said the vehicles were purchased to ensure better coverage of high-altitude regions. “We want to reach out to people in inaccessible areas. The ambulances have been sent for fabrication. These vehicles will be part of the 108 ambulance network,” an official said.

According to officials of the 108 ambulance service, the vehicles would be deployed at Yelagiri Hills and Pudurnadu in Vellore district, Jamunamarathur in Tiruvannamalai, Kolli Hills in Namakkal, Kalvarayan Hills in Villupuram and hilly areas in Nilgiris, Erode, Krishnagiri and Kodaikannal.

“They can ply on any terrain including water and swamps. Patients will be brought to the base Primary Health Centres from the hills in these vehicles. If necessary, they will then be taken to referral centres in the regular ambulances,” he said.

In many cases, persons requiring emergency medical attention, including pregnant women, were carried in “doli” to the foothills due to the lack of motorable roads.

The manufacturer of the vehicle was asked to modify it to suit the requirements of an ambulance. “It will have a good ground clearance as several interior areas will have no roads. We are yet to finalise the colour of the ambulances as we have to ensure that they do not attract animals. This is significant as an ambulance was attacked by elephants at Valparai recently.”

The required equipment for the ambulances was procured and the ambulances will roll out in a couple of months, he said.

The ambulances will have stretchers, oxygen supply and all the equipment required for emergency care, he said.