In Tamil Nadu, the authorities have already converted hundreds of taxis into mobile ambulances for the COVID-19 patients. Yet, the services are not as good in the villages of the state. When private ambulance services charge a massive amount of money for providing services, a politician has donated his vehicle for ambulance services.
K Mahendran, a prominent Congress leader has converted his Kia Seltos as an ambulance. The vehicle is already in use by the authorities to provide free services to the patients in the villages. K Mahendran says that his plan was to buy a proper ambulance so that people can use it during an emergency. However, that is taking time so he has converted his personal car into an ambulance at a cost of Rs 5 lakh.
The ambulance is well-equipped and there is even an oxygen cylinder in the vehicle to provide oxygen to anyone who needs it during transit. The unavailability of ambulances in the villages and far-off areas like Pattukottai in Tamil Nadu in recent days spurred Mahendra to use his vehicle as an ambulance.
Mahendran belongs to Tharmarankottai village, which is about 10 km away from Pattukottai. A 60-year old woman in the village developed severe non-COVID-19 related complications on Sunday. The family could not arrange a vehicle or an ambulance as no one was willing to come so far. He also says that in Jimper, Pudducherry, another family from the village had to spend more than Rs 15,000 to take a COVID-19 patient to the hospital a few days ago.
The Kia Seltos converted ambulance is free to use within a 30 km radius of the village. L R Muthu, a 28-year old volunteer from the village has come forward to take the job of driving the ambulance and take patients to the hospital.
Tamil Nadu Taxi Ambulances
In Chennai, Tamil Nadu, the authorities have converted as many as 250 taxis into ambulances. This was done to reduce the pressure on the 108 helpline ambulances, which affects the availability of critical patients who require oxygen support. There are fifteen such vehicles in each zone of the city.
To driver compartment of these cab-turned ambulances have been sealed completely to keep the driver safe. Also, the drivers of these taxi-turned-mini ambulances will be vaccinated to reduce the risk of COVID-19. The people of Chennai City have already started using these new services and the pressure of the healthcare system has reduced by a great deal too.
Each ambulance currently serves four patients a day. However, the authorities have a plan to increase that to about 6 patients per day to ensure that more people get help. Tamil Nadu is currently under lockdown so the cab has also got a daily earning opportunity.