Life-saver on four wheels: The ambulance-project in Bhaktapur
The ambulance cars sponsored by Nepalhilfe Beilngries are on duty
At the beginning of 2012, a VW Multivan went on a long journey to Nepal after thorough preparations. Volkswagen had donated this vehicle to NHB. According to its new needs it was changed attachments, for instance emergency lights and sirens were installed that it could be used as a proper ambulance car in Nepal. Shyam Dhaubadel was overwhelmed when the vehicle finally arrived at his children’s hospital after its journey from Bremen via Calcutta to Bhaktapur near Kathmandu in summer 2012.
After the first ambulance car donated by NHB had become very old and nearly unusable, this almost new vehicle was very important for the medical care of the people around Bhaktapur. The ambulance car is on duty several times a week to take injured and ill people to Siddhi Memorial Hospital, which is sometimes essential to their life-saving. The new van will certainly be used for emergencies the next couple of year and carry an uncountable number of patients during that time.
By this means we would like to say thank you again to Volkswagen for this generous donation, which helps the people in Nepal a lot.
The ambulance of Siddhi Memorial Hospital in Bhaktapur is sponsored by the organization. It races through the narrow lanes of the historic district with wailing sirens. People try to stay out of its way by moving close to house walls or even into entrances. The driver switches on some extra-loud horn-signal whenever people don’t react quickly enough. He wants to take the patient he had picked up in the hills around the town twelve minutes ago as quickly as possible to the public hospital in Bhaktapur.
The patient is being cared for by three of his relatives in the rear of the ambulance car. They had carried the patient down from the hills where there are no streets to a place where the off-the-road-ambulance was able to drive to. There is no first aid on the way to the hospital. In Nepal, an ambulance car is a better equipped, off-the-road-taxi with a kind of camp bed in the loading space for the patient. Had there not been the four ambulances of NHB, many of the sick and invalid persons wouldn’t have a chance of medical treatment. Only a few people in the deprived rural areas in the hills around the Kathmandu-valley could afford the taxi-ride to the hospital. Hardly are there any people who privately own a car.
The NHB ambulance cars are stationed in four different administrative districts in and around Kathmandu. The vehicles were either transported from Germany to Nepal or directly bought in Asia. They are on duty 24 hours a day and cover a big area. That’s why the ambulance of Siddhi Memorial Hospital is not only responsible for the towns and villages around Bhaktapur but also for the surrounding hilly areas.
On average, the ambulance is called four to five times a day. “However, there were times when the ambulance was called ten or twelve times a day”, says Shyam Dhaubadhel, president of the administration and founder of the Siddhi Memorial Hospital. The operators of the am bulance have to pay for the running costs like petrol or motor oil which is very expensive in Nepal. The municipalities of the ambulance catchment area in Bhaktapur, Lubhu and Dhanding cooperate. Besides that, patients partly pay the transporting expenses. Furthermore, worth mentioning is the Lions Club Katmandu, which runs its own sponsored ambulance.
The ambulance cars are all well maintained, which is surprising in the face of the bad road conditions in Nepal, which, however, is inevitable for a smooth functioning. The people responsible for the ambulance system and the inhabitants of the villages obviously know the worthiness of an ambulance car. The knowledge of a possible transport to a hospital or a medical practitioner in case of emergency is a very comforting feeling for all people involved.