Rashmi Rekha Das

The much-touted 108 ambulance service launched by the state government with an aim to rush needy patients to hospital has failed to serve its purpose with complaints of pregnant women being deprived of the service pouring in from different quarters of the state.  

Most recently, a woman who needed to be taken to a hospital post delivery could not avail the service at Sorada village under Kolnara block. 
According to sources, family members of the pregnant lady rang the authorities to avail 108 ambulance when the latter complained of labour pain. However, the ambulance driver was not able to reach the pregnant lady’s house due to poor road connectivity and it halted two kilometres from the woman’s house. As the ambulance delayed in reaching the spot, the woman gave birth to a girl at her home. “

However, post delivery her condition became critical.

Finding no other go her family members carried her on a cot for two kilometres to reach the ambulance. The ambulance then rushed the victim to Ramnaguda hospital. The patient’s condition is stated to be stable now. 

Meanwhile, villagers lamented tardy pace of road work under the Pradhan Mantri Sadak Yojana which is underway.

In a similar case, when pregnant Sudha Majhi of Durupai village under Kashipur block complained of severe labour pain, her family members sought 108 ambulance service. Thanks to poor road connectivity, the driver was not able to reach the patient’s home and halted the vehicle two kilometres from her home. The driver along with ASHA and ANM workers rushed to the patient’s home and brought the pregnant lady on a stretcher to the ambulance and admitted her to Kashipur Community Health Centre. 

It can be said that ambulance services to transport pregnant women, children and those that require emergency medical attention remains a challenge in Odisha even 50 years after the public healthcare provision.