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Boat ambulance service poised to become health service lifeline in cut-off areas

Close on the heels of commissioning ‘floating dispensaries’ in Maoist-hit cut-off areas in Malkangiri, Odisha government has decided to introduce boat ambulance service to extend health service to people living river-locked and dam-side areas.   

 Budgetary allocation has been made to set in motion six boat ambulances in the cut-off areas of Koraput, Malkangiri, Kalahandi and Kendrapara districts. This innovative ambulance service will cater to the needs of people of areas where 108 Ambulance Service has failed make headway because of lack of road route to these far-flung areas.  

108 Ambulance Service had been launched on March 5, 2013 with a fleet of 420 ambulances to cover the entire State in a phased manner. The government had also sanctioned additional 92 Basic Life Support ambulances augmenting the existing fleet of 420 under 108 Ambulance Service to 512. However the cut-off areas could not be brought under 108 ambulance services because of disadvantageous geographical location. Rivers, creeks or water-inlets encircled the villages from all directions, said officials.

On April 2, floating dispensary had been introduced providing a new lease of life to around 25,000 people in nearly 100 cut-off villages of Malkangiri district.

It has emerged as the ‘vessel of hope’ for far-flung Maoist-infested pockets in Malkangiri district. The proposed boat ambulance service would also provide succour to people in river-locked areas of Odisha.

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