Cuttack: It has been eight years since the State Government introduced a fleet of ambulances to cover the entire State in a phased manner to provide Emergency Ambulance Service free of cost to the people of Odisha.
On March 5, 2013, on the birth anniversary of former Odisha Chief Minister Biju Babu, the state government launched the ‘108’ ambulance service. In the first phase, 223 ambulances were included in the scheme. The goal was to provide free medical care to people in urban and rural areas.
As the service completes eight years, the number of ambulances has reached 1102. In the last eight years, ‘108’ ambulances have served 64 lakh people. Whether it’s a roadside accident or a sick person, the ambulances have always reached after dialing 108.
Odisha government’s ‘108’ ambulance service has played a key role in strengthening the state’s health care system, with the help of about 4,500 workers reaching all homes in the state.
Sabyasachi Biswal, Odisha Project Head, 108 Ambulance Service
According to the World Health Organization, there should be one ambulance at the government level against one lakh people. But the state of Odisha is far ahead. While the state needs 450 ambulances, the government has provided 1102 ambulances to the people.
Earlier, patients had to pay thousands to private ambulances to reach a hospital, but today ‘108’ ambulances provide free services. The state government is also planning to spend more on the development of the ‘108’ ambulance service.
Basant Rath, Cuttack Resident