July 27, 2017 (LBO) – Considering the success of the project, the cabinet has approved a proposal to provide funds to continue the pre-hospital care ambulance service launched last year with an Indian grant.
The service was launched in the Western and Southern Provinces by GVK EMRI Lanka (Pvt) Ltd with 7.6 million US dollar assistance from Indian government in July 2016.
The government let GVK import their vehicles and medical equipment duty free and provided space to set up their rapid response centers and provided work visas for the Indian manager and trainers.
Indian government provided the capital for ambulances and paid staff for the first year.
From next month, the Sri Lanka government has to fund the operational expenses even though the cabinet has not made public the amount allocated for the service to continue.
Minister Harsha de Silva however said India has agreed to provide another grant of over 15 million US dollars to expand this service island wide by next year.
By April 2017, the service had responded to 236,000 calls with an average response time of 12.52 minutes. It has transported 130 to 135 patients daily.
This Indian-backed free ambulance service is currently running parallel to the government’s free ambulance service.