They attend to emergency cases in remote areas and shift patients to 108 ambulances: DMHO
Chenchu tribal people, who co-inhabit big cats and other wild animals in the over 80 remote hamlets in the mighty Nalamalla forests, die early hitherto succumbing to communicable and non-communicable diseases in the absence of timely medical services.
The members of the Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG) physically carry the sick by putting them on a makeshift dolly and trek miles together to the hospitals in the plains in the absence of motorable roads.
In majority of cases, the tribal people living in the Chenchugudems in and around Palutla lose their beloved ones unable to take the sick to the hospital in the ‘golden hour.’
Now they can heave a sigh of relief as three motorcycle ambulances are at their beck and call 24 x 7 to move the sick from remote tribal hamlets, where 108 ambulance service cannot reach, to hospitals in the plains after providing first-aid.
These ‘feeder ambulances’ one each stationed at Ganjivaripalli, Dornala and Korraprolu are equipped with oxygen cylinder, IV fluids and medicines to attend to emergency cases and shift the patients to a 108 ambulance, according to District Medical and Health Officer (DMHO) S. Rajyalakshmi. The driver-cum-pharmacist provides first-aid before transferring the patient to an 108 ambulance waiting in the plains, explains Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA) Deputy District Medical and Health Officer M.Srinivasa Rao taking time to speak to The Hindu amid his tight schedule of educating tribal people on the new service launched for their benefit at Mantanala Chenchugudem.
The tribal people are also more prone to attack by wild animals, including bears and scorpions, adds Medical officer from Ganjivaripalli Dr. Srinivas Naik after visiting some of the remote hamlets like Ponnalabailu, Naritadikala, Peddammathalli Chenchugudem etc., to enlighten the tribals on the new ambulance service launched by the State government as they stay put in the tribal habitations even if it meant a lot of hardship.
Motorable road sought
Most of the tribal hamlets like Peddammathalli Penta, Darabailu Penta, Narutadikala are sparsely populated and difficult to reach even by the feeder ambulances in view frequent disruption in communication signals to the GPS-fitted vehicle, explains its driver-cum-pharmacist Suresh Kumar.
The one demand raised by all people living in and around Palutla, which is visited once in five years by officers by helicopters for conducting elections, is a motorable road, says Pedda Manthanna, an elderly man from Palutla hamlet deep in the Nallamalla forests. “The new service has come as a boon for us,” he adds while expressing the hope that it will bring down the premature deaths in the tribal hamlets. Most of the tribal people whose numbers are fast dwindling drink polluted water and are prone to get malaria and other vector-borne diseases, observes Dr. Ch. Chalamaiah, who has been striving to improve their lot.