A YEAR after motorbike ambulances were used by the Maharashtra Emergency Medical Services (MEMS), the five doctors employed in Palghar to operate them have stopped work indefinitely, pending disbursement of five months of salary. Not only this, road and bridge collapses in Palghar have also made villages inaccessible.
Mokhada resident Vimalabai Patil (64) was suffering from fever for two days, in the first week of September. “Earlier, we had visits by bike ambulances. But now they have stopped. To get to primary health centres, we have to walk for around 3 km which is difficult when someone is unwell,” said her 28-year-old son Kishor Patil.
Kishor eventually went to a medical store owner in Vikramgad and described his mother’s condition, following which he got medicine. “It was just a normal fever and the medicine worked,” he said.
The motorbike ambulances were initiated into emergency response teams to reach places a four-wheeler could not.
“The doctors identified people who needed the medicine and even conducted camps. The bikes would reach villages easily in all weathers,” a district official said.
The initiative was started in many districts. In Palghar, however, the bikes have not been used for over two months.
“The doctors haven’t been paid for five months. Three have left and two are not showing up anymore,” the official added.
The district officials have increased the visits of their medical teams but it is not enough to make for the absence of the bike ambulances.