Ultra-modern ambulances for tribal areas to reduce infant mortality rate

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 14 Nov 2017 12:00:51


Principal Correspondent,

Though the infant mortality rate in Maharashtra has come down to 16 deaths per thousand births in 2016, the rate in rural and tribal sectors is still high at 29. Taking a serious note of the deaths, Public Health Department has initiated a well-equipped transport system for areas in the vicinity of five talukas in Vidarbha. They are Aheri, Dharni, Chikhaldara, Peth, Dhadgaon, all tribal-dominated areas. According to sources in the department, the transport system will help in reducing infant mortality rate.

Considering the geographical topography of the tribal areas, it is important to provide certain medical services to reduce infant mortality rate. Often, it becomes time consuming to shift a patient from such areas to a nearby hospital. Lack of proper transportation, especially for patients, has led to increase in infant deaths by 8 to 10 per cent in such areas. To avoid this, Public Health Department has decided to start a special transportation system for the areas like Aheri, Dharni, Chikhaldara, Peth, Dhadgaon. There will be 108 number Emergency Medical Services (EMS) ambulances, two each to the Taluka out of the above five. Each ambulance will have a battery-operated transport warmer, pulse oxymeter, CPAP and consumables. The upgradation cost per ambulance will be Rs one lakh.

The Government was considering this proposal since long. A high level committee had granted permission to utilise the fund sanctioned by the 13th Finance Commission for transport of newborn babies providing Radiant Warmer, CPAP in existing 108 ambulances at 10 high IMR Blocks. This purchase is of Rs 10 lakh. Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) is a form of positive airway pressure ventilator which applies mild-air pressure on a continuous basis to keep the airways continuously open in people who are able to breathe spontaneously on their own. It is an alternative to positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP).

As per the government directives, the ambulances are to be purchased strictly under certain condition. The purchases are to be done by ensuring that those many equipment are really needed. Further, it should be ensured that the specifications of equipment are ultra-modern. The technical specifications should match with the specifications approved by concerned committee of technical experts. The technical specifications should not be prepared so as to benefit a particular company.

While completing the purchase procedure all the guidelines of Central Vigilance Committee should be followed. The expenditure should be made out of the grant given by 13th Finance Commission for reducing infant mortality rate for the year 2017-18. The duplication of the purchase of equipment should be avoided.