GPS-fitted ambulance for child birth

Some of the ambulances launched for institutional delivery parked at Karnajora in Raiganj on Wednesday. Picture by Kousik Sen

Raiganj: The North Dinajpur district administration on Wednesday introduced GPS-fitted ambulances which could be used to carry would-be mothers to health centres and hospitals from homes free of cost.

The initiative has been taken to increase the rate of institutional delivery of children in the district.

"The average rate of institutional delivery in the state is around 95 per cent and around 81 per cent in our district. We want to increase it and get close to the state average. That is why the ambulances have been introduced. The vehicles would be deployed at different locations and anybody in the district can access the service by calling up in a number," said Ayesha Rani A, the district magistrate of North Dinajpur.

Last month, chief minister Mamata Banerjee had asked the administration to take initiatives so that the institutional delivery rate went up in the district. She was attending an administrative review meeting then.

The ambulances, administrative officials said, will be run by a private firm. In total, 20 such vehicles were put into service from Wednesday.

"There will be one ambulance each in nine blocks and nine police stations of the district. The remaining ones would be kept at hospitals and health centres. Anybody can call 102 for the free service. All the vehicles are fitted with GPS and we will be able to track the location," an official said.

The administration is also developing a mechanism to ensure that the ambulance reaches the house of a would-be mother in the shortest possible time.

"Once a call is received, we will locate the nearest ambulance available vis-à-vis the location of the caller, and will send it to bring the pregnant woman to the nearest health centre or hospital for delivery. All such women and their children will also be provided with a free transport service from the hospital to their home after they are discharged. This initiative, we believe, will increase the institutional delivery rate in our district," added the official.

The ambulance facility will also be available to carry children up to one year of age to government health establishments for treatment.

On Wednesday, the district magistrate flagged off the ambulances at the district collectorate in Karnajora here.

"Those posted in blocks and police stations will monitor the movement of ambulances and o the service. They have been briefed in detail," said Rani.


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