Status of EMS in Pakistan

Pakistan is versatile and dynamic in many aspects. It is same with the EMS service in the country.

Emergency medical services (EMS) in Pakistan are provided both by the government and private sector, with the latter being main a payment-for-service system. Healthcare falls under the responsibility of provincial governments.

EMS services with the name of Punjab Emergency Services 1122 were launch in Punjab in 2006. They have also launched motorbike ambulance service in 2018 which is serving 9 districts of Punjab. They have Emergency Services Academy in Lahore where rescuers from KP Rescue Service and MERC Balochistan get training and join their provincial service. Punjab Rescue Services has one more historical achievement on their shoulder. Pakistan Rescue Team (PRT) became the first UN-INSARAG Classified Team in South Asia.

On the other hand we have EMS services in all other provinces but with limited footprints except KP. The first thing to be noted is that they were slow to replicate the idea of EMS and the next EMS was launched in 2012 in KP.

KP EMS Service was launched in 2012 with few ambulances in Peshawar but they had exponential growth in the last 3-4 years where now they have at least 1 station in every city.

In December 2018, an agreement was signed between the government of Sindh and the Patients Aid Foundation (PAF) to run an ambulance service, free of cost, in Sindh. This will be operated on the basis of the public-private partnership (PPP). A fleet of 60, fully equipped vehicles were used to operate the ambulance service. According to the agreement, the Sindh government will take over the services of the Aman Foundation and run the ambulances in collaboration with the PAF. In late 2020 they started to take over the Aman Ambulance, first by renaming the ambulances to Sindh Rescue and Medical Service but suffered a setback when PAF step backed. PAF refused to work as an intermediary between the government of Sindh and Aman Ambulance, the provincial government stopped providing funds to the Aman Foundation, citing legal issues. Dialing number 1122 is adopted as UAN in all other provinces except Sindh where they have different numbers like Sindh Rescue and Medical Service (formerly Aman) has the same 1021 number. There is 1036 for Sindh Peoples Ambulance Services which is working in Hyderabad and other rural Sindh areas.

EMS with the name of MERC 1122 launched in Balochistan in Oct 2019. Government has approved establishment of Emergency Response Centers on all major highways of the Province through PPHI-B. The purpose of the project was to establish 25 centers over the period of 3 years to cater high rate of road accidents. These centers will be established at different points on highways. Central control room will be in MERC Head Office at Quetta with 1122 as UAN.

While MERC is doing wonders preventing loss of life in highway accidents in Balochistan, its facing several problems due to bureaucratic red tape. Almost two years after approval of Rs3.92 billion for MERC, only 17.5% of funds have been released by the government. For the fiscal year 2020-21, the provincial government allocated Rs1.25 billion and not a single paisa has been released to MERC in the first seven months.

 

About Faisal Javed Mir

Faisal Javed Mir is Occupational Health and Safety Professional, having 15+ years of profound experience in training and consultancy. He has knowledge, skills, experience, tools, proven history and confidence to deliver what is required by the valued clients. He is teaching First Aid since 2006 and certified by MEDIC First Aid International of United States for many first aid certification programs. He is the only Instructor-Trainer by MEDIC First Aid and American Health and Safety Institute (ASHI) in Pakistan.
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