City engineer designs ‘ambulance’ for people from remote forest areas

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 07 Jun 2018 09:49:48


Staff Reporter,

The remote forest areas of Gadchiroli are beautiful. At the same time, they are challenging. For, if a person from a tribal hamlet takes ill, four-wheeled ambulance cannot reach there and the patient is at risk despite the district having good medical service projects like Lok Biradari Prakalp of Dr Prakash Amte in Hemalkasa.

Last month, Dr Prakash and Dr Mandakini Amte’s daughter-in-law Dr Anagha visited Nagpur. During discussion with city-based consulting engineer Amol Shingarey, she floated an idea of having a sidecar that could be fitted like a stretcher to a two-wheeler and can carry a patient comfortably from a remote hamlet or village to healthcare facility. Responding to the idea, Shingarey put his team at Geotech Services in action and designed and fabricated the unique sidecar. A few days ago, Dr Digant and Dr Anagha Amte both visited Geotech Services’ laboratory and watched the performance of the sidecar. Now, Shingarey told ‘The Hitavada’, the vehicle will be sent to Hemalkasa next week.

Dr Anagha Amte has been carrying forward the legacy of service to humanity, of Amte family. She is deeply involved not only in extending medical services to tribals at Hemalkasa, but also in looking after their welfare. Bringing patients from non-approachable forest settlements to the hospital has been a burning problem for Lok Biradari Prakalp at Hemalkasa. After a lot of pondering over on the issue, she came up with the idea of making a sidecar to motorcycle and tried one. She sent over the video clip of the same to Shingarey for opinion.

“We found it non-feasible. So, she requested us for a design. Since it was not possible to fabricate it at Hemalkasa for want of facilities and spares, we requested her to send the motorcycle with sidecar to Nagpur,” Shingarey said. Dr Anagha listed main requirements as follows -- it (sidecar) should be as narrow as possible, rugged for use, minimum in length and height.

Accordingly, a design was made of a sidecar 15 inches wide, 66 inches long (a chair type), and 6 inches side-height to accommodate foam bed and prevent sliding of patient. The finished chair is of metal frame and mounted on single wheel with a shock absorber. To allow bouncing of sidecar in uneven terrain, it is joined to motorcycle with hinge joints. To control over bouncing of the sidecar, one more shock absorber is attached at motorcycle joint, Shingarey said.

Shingare explained, “We required a few trials to arrive at number of joint locations, as the sidecar needed to be connected to main chassis only. Each joint was at different height because of chassis profile. Soft shock absorber connected initially at joint of motorcycle and the sidecar was pulling motorcycle towards sidecar and causing a tilt. With a few more trials, the issue was settled. Thereafter, trials with two persons on motorcycle and one on sidecar were conducted. And, it brought success.”

Sanjay Madankar, Chandu Salunke, and Rupchand Ladke were in Shingarey’s team. They were instrumental in design and fabrication of the unique ‘sidecar ambulance’.

Dr Anagha and her husband Dr Digant Amte visited Geotech Services’ laboratory to watch demonstration of the vehicle, and expressed great satisfaction. “During actual and continuous use, some problems may arise. But, we are sure that those can be solved. This being our maiden attempt, it is a learning experience for us too. Still, we are happy that we could do something that may save lives by ensuring that the patient in need reaches the hospital,” said Shingarey.