Palampur May 11
Seeing the impact of the second wave of Covid-19 in Kangra district, a local NGO — Blood Bank Society — has pressed all its five ambulances for the transportation of Covid patients, which has proved to be helpful for many.
The NGO aims to share the load with the government and other organisations working on the field and offer help to those in need. The NGO’s ambulances have been shifting 20 to 25 Covid patients daily to different hospitals and Covid care centres in and outside the state. On Monday, an Austrian citizen was shifted to the Amritsar airport from Dharmsala, where an air ambulance was waiting ti shift him to Vienna.
Gopal Sood, a member of the NGO, said with the rising number of Covid cases in Palampur and its adjoining areas, his team realised that there was an acute shortage of medical transportation facilities and many patients who were suspected of being Covid positive could not get access to Covid care hospitals or isolation centres.
In order to address this issue, the NGO started a 24-hour helpline and a Facebook page to help Covid patients.
The NGO receives over 200 calls daily for help from various locations. The NGO meets it expenditure from funds collected through public donations. Recently, Dr Ram Kumar Sood donated an ambulance worth Rs 28 lakh that has a ventilator. Likewise, an NRI settled in the UK donated Rs 10 lakh to the society last week.
Under this initiative, transportation is provided to underprivileged Covid-19 patients on per-km rate fixed by the Palampur SDM. This involves transferring people to treatment centres, hospitals, quarantine centres and back to their homes. Besides, the ambulances are also used for shifting the Covid deceased to their homes.
The vehicles are equipped with all necessary medical supplies and staff who have undergone training to handle the situation. “Though the government has set up Covid care hospitals and isolation centres, many patients cannot afford to hire a private vehicle to reach these centres. The use of public transport for this purpose is also forbidden. In such a scenario, it is heartwarming to be able to come to their aid,” said Sood.