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November 14, 2009

A river ambulance service for Majuli islanders

     Majauli (Assam): A ferry service is the only means of transportation for Majuli islanders, and due to this lack of transportation, residents often fail to access prompt medical facilities. Taking note of such a need, the Assam Government recently introduced a river ambulance service in the form of a speedboat. It has life saving equipment in it. It is the first of its kind public service scheme. The boat ambulance was commissioned recently at Kamalabari, Majuli in Assam. The event marked the completion of one year of the popular 108 emergency ambulance response service Mrityunjoy in the State. Numaligarh Refinery Limited (NRL), one of the major oil producing companies of Assam, donated the speedboat at a function organized at Kamalabari Ghat. It is intended to serve the medical needs of people living in Majuli. The Speedboat, acquired from Kerala for Rs. 150,000, is made of fiberglass and has arrangements for oxygen, stretchers, saline drips, and medical experts. "We are trying to give a good high speed passenger boat which will have an accommodation of about 40 passengers and will also help people to cross the river in a very short time. We will give this to the people of Majuli," said L.S. Changsan, Deputy Commissioner, Jorhat. "There was always this communication problem from Majuli to the mainland Jorhat. Especially for the patients, this was a serious problem. With this speedboat, we can now cross the river in about 20-25 minutes whereas earlier it used to take an hour or more. This will be a great benefit," said P.K. DAS, Managing Director, NRL, Numaligarh. The boat ambulance will tie up with 108 emergency response services on river's both sides; Neemati and Kamalabari Ghat, for speedy and efficient healthcare service. Five more boat ambulances would be introduced in Majuli and Sadiya under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), depending upon this pilot project delivering the desired results. It is widely being hoped that the launch of the speedboat ambulance, the healthcare scenario of the islanders will improve considerably.
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