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Sri Lanka is to pursue a private-public partnership to finance the free mobile hospital service in the country which is to be rolled out in the Western and Southern Provinces during the latter part of the year.

The project was initiated by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe following discussions with the Indian Premier, Narendra Modi during the latter’s visit to the country earlier this year.

Accordingly, Sri Lanka is to sign a fresh agreement with India in the coming two to three weeks to introduce mobile hospital services in the country. A grant of one billion rupees has already been given by India to Sri Lanka for this purpose.

“We will call upon the private and the public sector to invest on this service which would be provided free of charge to the public,” Deputy Minister of Policy Implementation and Economic Affairs, Dr. Harsha de Silva told The Nation Gain. “We hope to provide this service to all segments of the society free of charge. We are also holding discussions with the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) on this regard.”

He also stated that the Government would also set aside a certain amount in its budgetary allocations as this service continues. “We hope to expand the service island-wide in the future,” he added. The service will be modeled according to India’s GVK EMRI (Emergency Management and Research Institute), a pioneer in Emergency Management Services in the country.

As a non-profit professional organization operating in the Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode, GVK EMRI is said to be the largest professional Emergency Service Provider in India.
Dr. de Silva speaking further stated that 90 ambulances would be brought down to Sri Lanka. “We hope to start off this project with the 90 ambulances in the Western and Southern Provinces and then look to expand the service to other parts of the country,” he said.

Accordingly, the ambulances will be equipped completely with the facilities needed to treat a patient and the service provided will be in the lines of the US’ 911. “A patient would need medical help within the first hour during an emergency. This service will not be just another ambulance service but would have all the facilities. There would also be paramedics in the vehicle,” Dr. de Silva added. “We hope to launch this project in the next two to three months.”