Sri Lanka with assistance from its neighbour India, last week commenced the Emergency Ambulance Service project, covering the Western and Southern provinces of Sri Lanka. The project was launched at a widely-attended event at the iconic Galle Face Green in Colombo with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivering a video message on the occasion in the presence of, among others, Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, Minister of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine of Sri Lanka, Rajitha Senaratne, High Commissioner of India, YK Sinha and Deputy Foreign Minister, Harsha de Silva.
The project is being implemented through grant assistance of Government of India of around US$ 7.55 million. Project elements include an emergency response centre, deployment of 88 ambulances in the Southern and Western Provinces and recruitment and training of, nearly, 600 Sri Lankan personnel to implement the project. Only 4-6 staff members are to be deployed from India to provide management and technical expertise guidance. Government of Sri Lanka has selected Ms GVK EMRI as the implementing agency. A ‘not-for-profit-company’, called GVK EMRI Lanka (Pvt.) Ltd., has been created for rolling out the services in the Western and Southern Provinces. All assets, including ambulances, will belong to Ministry Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine of Sri Lanka. The emergency ambulance services would be provided free of cost to the beneficiary.
“This project is another milestone in the wide raging development partnership between India and Sri Lanka. India’s development portfolio in Sri Lanka is nearly US$ 2.6 billion, out of which US$ 436 million is pure grants,” the Indian High Commission in Colombo said in a statement.