As I thought of organizing my grand daughter’s naming ceremony, my heart wanted to reach out to all those who facilitated her safe birth, in a moving ambulance,” says Shree Chand form Rudraprayag.
As his 3 month old grand daughter cuddles up in his lap, he is reminded of November 20 last year when his pregnant daughter had a chilling brush with death only to be given a second life, and a healthy baby, by the staff of state-run 108 ambulance service.
“The child was born in the ambulance while shifting my daughter to a hospital,” he recalls the developments on the fateful day.
So overwhelmed is Chand that as a gesture of gratitude, he even wrote to Uttarakhand Chief Minister BC Khanduri’s team and state government officials looking after the Emergency Management Research Institute’s (EMRI) 108 ambulance service and invited them to attend the naming function of his grand daughter.
Chand’s grand daughter is not an isolated case as a total of 346 babies have been given birth in ambulances of the service since it was launched on May 15 last year.
The long list of beneficiaries of the ambulance service also includes a 25-year old woman in village Simalsari in Naugaon block who gave birth to a baby in an ambulance which had traveled 40 km from its base location.
One in every 3 calls attended by 108 emergency ambulance service in the last 11 months have been related to pregnancy cases.
“Of the 15000 pregnant women who have used the service, 400 have delivered in an ambulance which has a trained paramedic who assisted the delivery. Childbirth accounts ofr 34 percent cases handled by the ambulance service,” according to Anoop Nautiyal, COO, Emergency Management and Research Institute, Uttarakhand.
In Nainital district, pregnancy emergency help was the most common service offered by the 108 service between May 15 last year and Nov 15 last year. A total of 247 patients were helped as against 232 cases of assorted emergencies and 186 cases of road traffic accidents, official figure show.
A total of 193 pregnancy emergencies were handled by the 108 service in Champawat district during this period.
The emergency ambulance service was launched last year and it has a fleet of 90vehicles. With the introduction of the service, Uttarakhand became the first state in north India to introduce an ultra-modern free ambulance service which can be contacted by dialing 108.