The OBHIZATRIK Foundation, while working on a project to build a school for underprivileged children in the Charlata area of Patuakhali, came up with the idea of a boat ambulance to address the emergency medical needs of the southern char areas in Rangabali and Golachipa Upazila of Patuakhali district, Bangladesh.
During the school establishment process, our team observed the challenging living conditions faced by the coastal communities. The remote char areas suffered from fragile transportation infrastructure, particularly in Rangabali, where approximately 200,000 people lacked proper access to essential healthcare services due to poor communication and transportation systems. Five unions, namely Rangabali, Chalitabunia, Char Mantaj, Choto Baishdia, and Boro Baishdia, were surrounded by rivers and the
sea, making it difficult for residents to reach the nearest hospital in Galachipa. The existing means of crossing the Agunmukha river by trawler resulted in significant delays and compromised the timely treatment of patients. Consequently, there were numerous cases of patients losing their lives, even in critical conditions. This pressing issue motivated us to find a solution, but limited funding hindered our progress. However, IDLC, one of Bangladesh’s largest non-banking financial institutions, extended their support.
At a Glance
Deeply moved by the plight of the coastal communities, IDLC initiated the boat ambulance project in mid-2019. OBHIZATRIK Foundation’s team designed a 26-foot long and 8-foot-wide boat ambulance, incorporating space for emergency deliveries. Powered by a 110 HP engine with a top speed of 45 knots, the boat ambulance can accommodate 10 people and features two patient beds. It is equipped with essential medical facilities such as emergency oxygen supply, medicines, and first aid. A medical assistant, a driver, and a manager form the team operating the boat ambulance.
After completing the ambulance’s construction, we launched a campaign in markets and public places, officially introducing the
boat ambulance to the public in 2019. The boat ambulance has proven its effectiveness by reaching patients within 24 hours in any of the five unions of the Upazila and transporting them to the nearest headquarters hospital within 20-30 minutes. To date, we have served over 550+ patients with this life-saving service.
Moreover, the boat ambulance has played a vital role in distributing relief materials during floods and providing medical facilities to COVID-19 patients in the Southern Char region. It facilitated emergency transportation for approximately 200 COVID-19 patients to nearby hospitals in Patuakhali. Additionally, our dedicated volunteer team was responsible for the transportation and burial rituals of more than 100 COVID-19-infected deceased individuals. We are prepared to expand the boat ambulance facility if the situation necessitates it. The primary objective of this project is to ensure access to healthcare services for the inhabitants of the Char areas.