Dream come true
Emergency Services in Pakistan
It was towards the end of last century that luckily while working for change of rules for provision of facilities for accident victims with “Association of Road Users of Pakistan (ARUP)” at Karachi met the CEO of Institute of Safety & Human Factor (ISHF). He had been given the task of preparing the blue print for launching of “Pakistan Motorway Police” (now NH&MP). While working with him learned the difference between Vision and Mission and what all think-tank must consider to prepare vision, mission and steps needed to achieve these. Perhaps in 2001 gave my first interview for the magazine “Mobile World” and expressed my views on the missing vision of safer roads in our country. Also came under discussion the missing emergency services and the plans of GOP to train a force fully capable of handling and managing accidents to ensure continuous flow of traffic.
The proposed changes for providing medical care to accident handling were presented to members of all provincial assemblies and were accepted first by Sindh and then NWFP (Now KP) assemblies. Next the national assembly followed by senate and finally the authorization by The President of Pakistan. Announcement of the same was made by Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain as caretaker prime minister.
Next step taken was to get all stakeholders together for implementing this service through trained, dedicated, equipped and monitored service. Ground situation at that time was the limited capacity to deal with emergencies and disasters thus putting the lives and properties of the citizens at risk. This was evident from the fact that there were over 95% chances that in case of emergency; the victim will not get an ambulance for transportation, let alone timely emergency care by trained professionals. It was quite clear that emergency management had been long neglected in Pakistan and there are no trained emergency paramedics even in the emergency departments of teaching hospitals. Moreover, pre-hospital emergency ambulance, rescue and trained fire services or a disaster response force were virtually non-existent which was blatantly exposed during October, 2005 earthquake in Pakistan. Ambulances available with the NGOs lacked essential equipment and trained staff. Thus, the citizens of Pakistan were denied even the basic right to timely emergency care in case of any emergency or a disaster.
Punjab Emergency Services (PES) commonly referred as RESCUE1122 were launched with a vision and mission of:
VISION: Safe communities where all citizens are provided the right to timely emergency response and care without discrimination
MISSION: Establishment of an effective system for emergency preparedness, response, protection & prevention; while contributing towards building socially responsible, healthy, resilient and safer communities
KPK was next to follow through approval of “Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Emergency Rescue Service Act, 2012” with a preamble of — WHEREAS it is expedient to establish an emergency rescue service for the purpose of maintaining a state of preparedness to deal with emergencies, to provide timely response, rescue and emergency medical treatment to the persons affected by emergencies and recommending measures to be taken by related organizations to avoid or combat emergencies with its Effective Date as 20 December 2012
Gilgit Baltistan, Baluchistan, Azad Kashmir and finally Sindh followed the same in subsequent years:
AJK Govt Approved Separate Act For Emergency Service Rescue-1122 in Mar, 2017 to run Emergency Service Rescue 1122 separate from Civil Defense and its merger in State Disasters Management Authority (SDMA) while the employees service issues were authorized to Emergency Service Commission.
Sindh This service was launched as a public-private partnership between the provincial government and Aman Healthcare Services on June 25. The Sindh government allocated Rs 412 million to the Sindh Rescue and Medical Services (SRMS), previously known as the Aman Ambulance.
Trainings started with makeshift arrangements at an old abandoned bus depot known as LOS at Lahore and work on a proper Emergency Services Academy started soon after. This academy in village Gopey Val near Thokar Niaz Beg through teams of dedicated trainers and managers is providing countrywide service to all provinces. Working scope of this service gradually increased to include Fire, Evacuation, Water Rescue and even Patient Transfer between hospitals.
MOTORCYCLE AMBULANCE SERVICE Rescue 1122, motorcycle ambulances was inaugurated by Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif. He said that these ambulances are introduced while considering the distant and remote areas of Lahore and Punjab where the usual ambulances can’t go easily. Accordingly paramedics were enrolled, trained with improved skills for handling their motorbike and deployed on the congested and narrow roads.
Rescue 1122 is an emergency service that now operates almost in the entire country. You can contact Rescue 1122 just by calling 1122 even from any mobile number.
Since start 1122 has provided emergency service and saved millions by providing timely care through trained staff. What remains as points of concern is:
- Road sense of our road users
- Awareness on keeping area clear to allow rescue workers access
- Concrete steps needed to achieve the goal of “Safer Roads”
Provision of similar services on motorways, highways and CPEC roads