After the success of ‘108’ and ‘102’ ambulance services in Uttar Pradesh, the Central government has sanctioned Rs 12 crore under the National Health Mission (NHM) to start an Advanced Life Support Ambulance (ALSA) service in all 75 districts of the state for the first time.
“These ambulances, each costing about Rs 16 lakh, will be equipped with high-end equipments and would cater to transport of critical patients over long distances,” said Arvind Kumar, principal secretary of the state Medical, Health and Family Welfare Department.
Two cardiac ambulances have also been sanctioned to cater specifically to cardiac patients, Kumar said. Currently, the ‘108’ ambulance service, launched in September 2012, has a total fleet of 988 ambulances and caters to general medical emergencies. Then in January this year, the government launched a separate scheme of ‘102’ ambulance service for pregnant women and neonates, wherein about 1400 ambulances have been launched of the targeted 1,972.
However, these two services, with each ambulance costing around Rs 5.5 lakh to Rs 6.5 lakh, provide only basic life support systems which are used to transport patients to the nearest hospital, depending upon the nature of the requirement. In contrast, the ALSAs will be provided with ventilators, defibulators, and other equipments that can transport critical patients, like that of cardiac arrest, over long distances.
The operation cost of each ALSA ambulance will be about Rs 1 lakh a month, which will be shared between the Centre and the state in the ratio of 3:2 and the Centre has sanctioned Rs 1.80 crore under operation costs. An official said that tenders will soon be floated for the ambulance services.