Colombo, January 4 (newsin.asia): The Indian and Sri Lankan governments on Wednesday signed an agreement under which India will give 209 more state of the art ambulances to the Indian-assisted “Suwasariya” medical aid project.
Taking the 1990 emergency ambulance service ‘Suwasariya’, forward, the Sri Lankan Deputy Minister of National Policy Dr. Harsha De Silva and India’s High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Taranjit Singh Sandhu, signed the agreement at a ceremony held at Temple Trees chaired by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
Health Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne and Law and Order and Southern Development Minister Sagala Ratnayaka were also present.
The emergency paramedic ambulances, which will provide immediate service after callers dial 1990, was launched in 2016 as a result of a discussion between Prime Minister Wickremesinghe and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi.
“This is a good example of the Indian success story being transferred to Sri Lanka. Saving any life is a success story and by saving thousands of lives just imagine what you have achieved! So I thank Prime Minister Modi and the Indian government because now we have an efficient ambulance service which from today onwards will enable us to serve the whole country,” Wickremesinghe said.
The emergency service is based on a model developed in India as a public-private partnership with GVK EMRI, which developed as a corporate social responsibility project of India’s GVK Group and was first available in Hambantota, Matara, Galle, Kalutara and Gampaha.
It will now be accessible island-wide. National Policies and Economic Affairs Deputy Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva said: “This is truly a momentous occasion as we expand the services of 1990 from two provinces to the rest of the island.”
Under the first phase, 88 ambulances were purchased for the Western and Southern provinces while the 209 ambulances that are to be purchased under the second phase of the program will be used to cover all districts in the country.
The second phase of this program, which will cost a total of $ 15 million, will provide the emergency service to everyone in the country said Minister De Silva. He also said that this could be addressed as a small hospital with all the necessary equipment and aid.
Further, to ensure the operation and proper function of the service, a national operations center has been set up in Rajagiriya. At present over 550 Sri Lankans are employed at the center.
Sharing and Caring
High Commissioner Sandhu said: “This joint project is one of the most shining examples of the India-Sri Lanka friendship. For India, bilateral cooperation is alI about sharing and caring. Today we see the fulfillment of a dream and commitment. There is nothing nobler than saving human lives and it is most satisfying to know that we are able to assist our Sri Lankan brothers and sisters in this endeavor.”