The vans will be equipped with ECG equipment, AC and blood testing machines

Healthcare and access to medical facilities for residents of rural and remote areas in the district is all set to take a quantum leap forward as Coimbatore is getting ambulances specially fabricated in Rajasthan for providing treatment and safely transport patients.

Under ‘Hospital-On-Wheels’ (HoW) project launched across the State last year, vehicles of the Department of Public Health were being sent to a factory in Jaipur for re-configuring it to the specific requirements of operating in rural areas, Deputy Director of Health Services R. Damodharan told The Hindu here on Saturday.

Besides ECG equipment, the vehicles have been fitted with, among other things, an auto-analyser for blood investigation, air-conditioner, laboratory equipment, television for awareness programmes, a laptop and battery back-up.

While the fabrication cost per vehicle was Rs. 4 lakh, each van has been sanctioned another Rs. 1 lakh for purchasing equipment. The suspensions have been also modified to ensure the vehicles travel smoothly in hill terrain.

First phase

In the initial phase, he said that six vans from Coimbatore were sent to a coach factory in Jaipur and the first of such re-configured ambulances landed in the city on Wednesday and had been deployed at Sarkar Samakulam Panchayat Union.

While the remaining five were expected to arrive in a month’s time, the second batch of six vehicles would be reconfigured by December this year.

They would be stationed in the block primary health centres.

The mobile medical units, which will be staffed with a medical officer, laboratory technician, staff nurse and an attendant-cum-hospital worker besides the driver, would hold camps at remote and inaccessible/ difficult-to-access villages on a fixed day every month.

Each vehicle would cover two villages a day with the monthly target being 40 villages.

Software

Dr. Damodharan informed that all the units would have to submit reports on a daily basis through a web-based software developed for this purpose.

Further, plans were afoot to install global positioning systems (GPS) in the vehicles to help drivers find their way in remote areas and also to monitor their movement.

These ‘HoW’ vehicles, doctors and staff should not be utilised for other activities and vacancies should be immediately tackled through deputation of personnel from the PHC.

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