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Nepal's ambulances need urgent support, say experts

Sep 11, 2012

The Himalayan nation’s fledgling ambulance service is in need of urgent support, say health experts, particularly in the area of trained paramedics. There are only 21 trained paramedics in a country of nearly 30 million people, according to Nepal Ambulance Service (NAS).

The Nepal Red Cross Society (NRCS), the country’s largest NGO, has 168 ambulances but none have trained paramedics, and only 35 percent of ambulance drivers have had first aid training.

“The ambulance service in Nepal is very poor,” Rajesh Gongal, dean of Patan Hospital and president of NAS said.

Most vehicles that operate as ambulances in Nepal are privately owned cars completely unsuitable for medical treatment and lacking effective communications equipment, says NAS.

A study by Patan Hospital indicated that fewer than 10 percent of people arriving at medical facilities for emergency treatment in Kathmandu Valley arrive by registered ambulance; more than half arrive by taxi.

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