ECONOMYNEXT - Sri Lanka's newly started medical technicians (paramedics) have transferred over 40,000 patients to hospital emergency units since the service began, Deputy Minister Harsha de Silva said as an expansion of the service began.
"So proud of the 500+ staff unit (Emergency Medical Technicians, Pilots and Emergency Response Officers; all Sri Lankan!) that is perhaps one of the most efficient operations in Sri Lanka," de Silva said in a facebook.com post.
"Our current response time is less than 13 minutes. 99.6% of calls are answered in the first ring. Over 40,000 emergency patients transferred to hospitals. Just imagine if we were able to save just 1% of lives?! Obviously the figure has to be more."
Throughout Sri Lanka, especially in rural areas most sick people and accident victims are transported to hospital by three-wheeler taxis, known as 'tuk-tuks', also saving an unknown number of lives.
The ambulance is now available in the most densely populated areas like Colombo, set up with a 7 million US dollar grant from the government of India, following a visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The service was set up amid attacks by a trade union in the state health service, which vociferously oppose links with India, including a trade deal.
De Silva said the service is being now expanded to more areas with a 15 million US dollar grant from India. In India the EMT service is operated as a private community project with private sector donations. v In Sri Lanka a fully owned state foundation will be set up but "run as an independent entity", de Silva said. The legislation is now being prepared.
Another 1,300 staff will be recruited to expand the service. (Colombo/Oct29/2017)