The Boat ambulance named “MB Payra” is used for emergency medical care in southern char areas of Rangabali and Golachipa Upazila of Patuakhali district in Bangladesh. The idea of boat ambulance came to the members of OBHIZATRIK Foundation while we were working on a project with IDLC to build a school for underprivileged children in Charlata area of Patuakhali.
While establishing the school, our team had noticed the challenging lifestyle of the coastal people. The transit infrastructure of those remote char areas is brittle. There are around 2 lakh people in Rangabali who were being deprived of their fundamental health rights due to poor communication and transportation system. The residents of 5 unions- Rangabali, Chalitabunia, Char Mantaj, Choto Baishdia, Boro Baishdia under Rangabali upazila are locked by river on rivers on three sides and the sea on the other. Every time someone from the area gets sick or an emergency situation arises, they had to cross the river Agunmukha by trawler to reach the nearest hospital in Galachipa which robs them of some vital hours. Patients had to wait all night for a boat or trawler to go to the nearest hospital. Even in case of critical conditions, there is a huge record of patients’ death. We felt an urge to resolve the issue but due to lack of funding our hands were tied. That is when IDLC, one of the largest non-banking financial institutions in Bangladesh stepped in to support us.
At a Glance
IDLC works with the slogan “Financing Happiness”. As they believe in contributing to the grassroots for a greater change in the society, granting loans to non-profit organizations is one of their most popular schemes. So, after receiving the proposal for boat ambulance from OBHIZATRIK Foundation, they selected the idea and decided to be the benefactor of the program.
Moved by the plights of these people, IDLC started working on the boat ambulance project in the middle of 2019. The boat ambulance was designed by the OBHIZATRIK Foundation team. In a 26-foot long and 8-foot-wide boat ambulance, managed to keep a space for emergency delivery. The engine power of the boat is 110 HP along with its top speed of 45 knot. It can accommodate 10 people along with two patient beds. It also includes medical facilities like emergency oxygen supply, medicine and first aid. The idea is to keep a medical assistant along with a driver and a manager.
When the ambulance was ready, we started campaigning in markets and public places. In 2019, we launched the boat ambulance for the people. The boat ambulance can reach patients from any of the five unions of the upazila within 24 hours and take them to the nearest headquarters hospital within 20–30 minutes. So far, we have served 550+ patients with the ambulance.
Furthermore, the ambulance was used to distribute relief materials to the flood affected people since its inauguration. It had also played a crucial role in providing medical facilities to the COVID-19 infected patients of the Southern Char region. Around 200 COVID-19 patients were facilitated with emergency transportation to the nearest hospitals of Patuakhali. Moreover, our special volunteer team was engaged to transport the COVID-19 infected dead bodies for the burial ritual. More than 100 COVID-19 infected bodies were buried by our special team.
We intend to increase the boat ambulance facility if the situation demands. The objective of this project is to provide access to healthcare services for Char area inhabitants.