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Sri Lanka’s Suwaseriya paramedic ambulances in coronavirus frontline

FROM NORTH TO SOUTH: Pictured here are Suwaseriya ambulances in Sri Lanka’s Northern Jaffna region.

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Suwaseriya Paramedic Ambulance Services have been in the frontlines of the anti-coronavirus battle, along with nurses doctors and minor staff of hospitals, the island’s Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi said.

“Staff of the Suwaseriya ambulance service should receive national honour for their service of picking up patients as soon as they are informed,” she said in a daily recorded video in place of the daily task force press conference.

“They go and pick up patients whether or not they are infected with COVID-19, taking a high risk on themselves.”

Suwaseriya Paramedic Ambulance Service was first launched in 2016 in the Southern and Western provinces with 88 ambulances utilising a 7.55 million US dollar grant from India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi on a suggestion of then-State Minister Harsha de Silva.

Technical assistance and the operating model is from India’s GVK.

Another 12 million dollar grant was given later adding 209 more ambulances allowing the service to be extended to most parts of the country.

As of 2019, Suwaseriya ambulance service had an average response time of 11 mins and 53 sec to a call for their hotline 1990 islandwide.

The service had also covered 400,000 accidents by January 31 this year.

The general public can call Suwaseriya hotline number 1990 if they show symptoms of COVID-19 where an ambulance from the fleet will come and pick them up and admit them to the nearest hospital assigned for COVID-19 patients, a statement said.

Suwaseriya staff are well equipped with Personal Protective Equipment  (PPEs) to provide complete assistance in combating the situation, it added. ⁣(Colombo/Mar27/2020)

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