Gifts of any form are special. Everyone expects the best for them. Everyone wants the best gifts in life. The expectation grows several folds in a New Year.

Gifts and New Years are inseparable. For some, gifts would be a bonus while others would be happy with or without a gift.

But, the best gift is the gift of life which mothers give unto this world. Babies are special gifts to mothers who carry them for nine months before bringing forth them into the world.

This time around, the New Year season brought with it two new lives in a most unexpected manner. The two lives turned out to be the best gifts for the people who were there to witness the event.
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For them, this New Year would be etched in their minds their whole lives.
For 22-year-old Gayathri Madushani, this New Year was extra special. She is the Emergency Medical Technician at the 1990 ambulance service which has now gained popularity for its timely emergency services.

She was in her office, relaxing since it was New Year, but feeling quite down because she could not be at her home for the New Year. “I am from Wellawaya. This was the first time that I was away from home for the New Year,” she told the Nation.

At 7.02 am on April 14, just one hour before her shift ended, Madushani received a call from Aninkanda, Deniyaya, to attend to a pregnant mother with labour pains.
“I quickly got into our ambulance along with the girl who was to do the next shift and rushed off to the scene. We were there by 7.20am and we wasted no time in rushing to the Deniyaya hospital,” she said.

The mother, 28-year-old Pramila Pradeep was expecting twins and the delivery date was May 22. But, she got the pains more than a month before the scheduled date which prompted her to call for emergency services.

“We never stopped anywhere. The mother was in pain and we tried our level best to comfort her,” Madushani said.

However, she could not bear for long. “As we passed the Deniyaya police station around 7.58 am, the first baby was born. But we never stopped and continued on our journey,” she said.

The second baby was born at 8.06 after they reached the Deniyaya hospital.
Madushani was trained by GVK EMRI India for three months before she was recruited by GVK EMRI Sri Lanka to be part of the 1990 emergency ambulance service.

“I have helped in delivering babies during my training in India. But this was the first time that I was doing it on my own,” she said.

“It is an experience that cannot be expressed through words. I was missing home, and then this happens. I consider it the best gift to be able to bring a life to see the world,” Madushani said.

After the delivery, Madushani made it a point to visit the mother and the children in hospital to check on their wellbeing.

“We visited them to see how they were doing. The mother and babies are doing great. I was extremely happy to see them and made me feel extra special,” she said.

Pramila, the mother of the twins, was ecstatic over the birth even though the babies were born premature. “I was expecting this (births) next month. But it happened so soon. I’m ecstatic but nervous too,” she said.

Her husband Pradeep has no stable job and does odd jobs for daily wages. “He brings around Rs. 500 daily. I don’t know whether it would be enough hereafter. I hope we will be able to make ends meet,” she added.

“Right now I am just enjoying the moment with my two babies. The fact that they were born on New Year’s day was something special.”

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Harsha speaks

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs
Dr. Harsha de Silva, who played a major role in introducing the ambulance service in Sri Lanka last year, said that he was happy over the growth of the emergency service and the trust people had in it.harsha

“I am glad that this happened. But more than that, I am happy about the manner in which this service has reached the people,” he told the Nation.

“There was a time when some people did not believe in this concept where we provide free emergency medical assistance. It is not an ambulance. It is a micro hospital. But since its launch, we have responded to over 20,000 calls,” he said.

Today, the service includes 88 ambulances, which are assisting people in six districts including Hambantota, Galle, Matara, Gampaha and Colombo.

The service is funded by a grant given by the Indian government. “I have to thank the Indian government and all the employees who have worked tirelessly to make this a success.