Centre’s plans to open mobile air dispensary services in remote areas of the Northeast may be a reality soon. The Government has decided to allocate Rs 80-100 crore for the launch of two air dispensaries (helicopters with equipment and doctors) in the region.
Two proposed air dispensaries will operate from Shillong and Imphal. The services will cater to six Northeastern states except Assam.
“During the first meeting on the proposed scheme, Pawan Hans was also present which appreciated the idea and were told to cater their services for the Mobile Air Ambulance Services,” reads an official note on the project. The project report prepared by Pawan Hans estimates that Rs 1.87 crore cost per month will be incurred for the operation of two helicopters in the six states.
The project will be a joint venture of the Health, DoNER and Civil Aviation ministries. The DoNER Ministry had stated that the initiative should come from the Health Ministry with the help of the Northeastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences (NEGRIMS) in Shillong for medical, para medical assistance.
For financial resources, the Health Ministry can seek the help of the DoNER Ministry while the Civil Aviation Ministry will provide the chopper and the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare will focus on providing the medics and para medics apart from setting up the medical units for emergency cases, the note reads.
Apart from providing emergency medical help for trauma cases due to accidents, landslides, earthquakes and floods the helicopters will also act as air ambulances to shift patients to city hospitals for treatment.
According to official figures, the Northeast recorded over 3,000 deaths due to road accidents in 2016. Many lives were also lost in floods and landslides.