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Life support ambulances gifted by India remain unused in Bangladesh

Life support ambulances gifted by India have remained unused due to lack of manpower, shortage of spare parts and fuel oil. As a result, patients in Khulna are now completely reliant on privately-run ambulances and are paying excessive charges for the service.

Doctors say 70% of patients are dying on the way to hospital or at their homes due to a scarcity of modern and life support ambulances.

Khulna Medical College Hospital (KMCH) received one such ambulance in 2021 which has remained unused till date.

While visiting the hospital recently, the ambulance was seen parked at the hospital’s garage.

The Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) received six vehicles during the Covid-19 pandemic, and gave those to hospitals in Khulna Division.

Authorities say that the ambulances in Khulna, Satkhira and Jessore need urgent repair.

Suhas Ranjan Halder, a resident medical officer at KMCH, said although the vehicle is called life support ambulance, it does not have the necessary equipment. As a result, it is not possible to provide the desired emergency services to the patients.

Dr Md Manjurul Murshid, director of the DGHS of Khulna Division, said that the situation has become grim due to lack of policy needed for the repair and maintenance of these ambulances. As a result, decision making has become difficult as well.

Seventy percent of the patients die before reaching the hospital due to lack of proper care and transport crisis. Therefore, it is important to develop health policies to ensure ambulance and health care for patients, he added.

Sheikh Baharul Alam, president of Bangladesh Medical Association in Khulna, urged the authorities to formulate necessary policies in this regard. Dhaka Tribune

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