For close to 35 island villages of Maharashtra’s Nandurbar district, medical emergency meant travelling a distance of several kilometres by road and then about 20 kilometres by boat across the Narmada Dam and the road again to reach a hospital at Kevadia colony in Narmada District of Gujarat. However, the villages that continue to be cut off from administrative facilities due to lack of roads, the new ambulance boat launched on Friday, has come as a boon.
The ambulance boat, launched by the district administration of Nandurbar — constructed in Kevadia — has ensured that medical care is now available to the hamlets at their door step. The ambulance is equipped with oxygen cylinders, ventilators and an Intensive Care Unit (ICU), in which, trained staff will be stationed.
According to the District Health Officer of Nandurbar, Anil Patil, the boat has been pressed into service especially for deliveries and emergency cases. “We realised that in cases of emergencies or complications in pregnancies, the villagers had no way to reach hospitals in time. The boat is equipped for child birth and delivery as well as to handle any complications arising out of emergencies till the time the patient can be shifted to a bigger hospital through a well-equipped ambulance on the road.”
Patil said that two more boats were under construction to be launched next year.
For the residents of Akkalkuwa taluka in Nandurbar district, the boat has come as a boon. Sukhram Vasave, who plies a trawler in the Narmada waters, ferrying goods from one end to the other says, “In our village of Manibeli, there is no running public health centre. The case is the same in most villages. The biggest suffering is for women during childbirth. We are hoping that the boat ambulance will come as a new lease of life.”