PUNE: Dr. Dhananjay Datar, CMD, Al Adil Group, UAE, popularly known as Masala King has fully sponsored a novel initiative named ‘Rickshaw Ambulance’ meant for the COVID patients who need oxygen in critical condition. ‘Rickshaw Ambulance’ is a patient transport service jointly promoted and implemented by ‘Swadesh Sewa Foundation’ and ‘Baghtoy RIckshawwalla Forum’, both Pune based NGOs. The service was inaugurated recently here with enthusiasm.
Under this initiative, a fleet of 25 Auto rickshaw ambulances equipped with oxygen cylinders and other medical equipment has been readied for transporting the COVID patients who are in critical condition and need oxygen while shifting them from their home to a nearby hospital. These rickshaw ambulances will provide service initially in Pune city and surrounding Talukas including Mulashi, Mawal, and also cities like Pimpri-Chinchwad, Bhor, Ahmednagar, and Sangli. The promoters have set a goal to increase the number of rickshaw ambulances from 25 to 100 in the near future.
Elaborating on the concept, Mrs. Dhanashree Patil, the coordinator of the initiative and founder of Swadesh Sewa Foundation said, “The recent second wave of COVID has made us realize the importance of oxygen in critical condition. Also, another prominent aspect underlined was the importance of transporting the patients who need oxygen to nearby hospitals immediately. The unavailability of an oxygen cylinder or an ambulance in time leads to serious problems and may even cause a patient to lose his life. The family of oxygen-deprived patients becomes panicked in such situations. Sometimes the problem occurs when a patient’s home is located in a small alley. Due to the narrow road, the ambulance can’t reach there. We found a solution to use auto-rickshaw as an ambulance. Due to the compact size of the auto-rickshaw, it can easily reach and move in narrow alleys. If such rickshaws are equipped with an oxygen cylinder and other essential medical equipment, they can transport the patients to a nearby hospital with a continuous oxygen supply which results in availing medical treatment for them in time and also saving their lives. Dr. Dhananjay Datar, a philanthropist, has always been supporting us in implementing such social welfare activities. This time also he offered us his full support and financial assistance and ‘Baghtoy Rickshawwalla Forum’ has contributed a fleet of 25 rickshaws and a dedicated team of drivers. We are grateful to both.”
She further said, “A team of expert doctors is also contributing and helping in our initiative. This team will continuously remain in touch of rickshaw ambulance drivers. The moment the relatives of patients call on our helpline no. +91 96572 89411 and the rickshaw ambulance reaches their doorstep, these doctors will start guiding the rickshaw driver on how to take care of the patients while shifting them to hospitals. The team of drivers is already trained under the guidance of these doctors for carrying out activities like using Pulse Oximeter, checking the level of oxygen by handling oxygen flow meter, supplying oxygen to the patient in right quantity, etc.
Dr. Keshav Kshirsagar, founder of ‘Baghtoy Rickshawwalla Forum’ expressed his happiness for participating in the initiative. He said, “We are proud to be a part of such a noble cause. Actually, the pandemic has snatched away the daily income of rickshaw drivers as there was no transportation during the lockdown. But we will not step back in the battle against the pandemic; we will help society however we can. Our drivers will transport the patients while adhering to the pandemic guidelines. Every rickshaw ambulance will carry only one patient. The driver will wear a mask and the vehicle will be sanitized completely. This service will be free of cost for those who can’t afford the fare, and for others, the fare will be moderate.”
Dr. Dhananjay Datar, who sponsored the entire initiative, said, “Our ‘Al Adil’ group always supports novel social projects and initiatives. When the first wave of the COVID pandemic gripped the world, we helped thousands of jobless and penniless Indians who were stranded in Gulf countries to return home safely. We sponsored their free air travel, medical tests, and food kits. Recently we honored 150 Corona warriors from Pune, who perform last rites on deceased bodies of corona victims, by gifting boxes of Alfonso mangoes to them. It was a salute to their noble work and dedication. We are happy to be associated with Rickshaw Ambulance. Since the pandemic is not over yet, we should be more alert to provide medical care to the needy sections of society. We should not forget the miserable conditions of patients who were deprived of oxygen in critical conditions and suffered a lot. I am sure that the rickshaw ambulances will serve the purpose.”
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