The auto oxygen ambulance was initiated by Kadamai Education and Social Welfare Trust in Tondiarpet, who have served people for the last seven years in the fields of education, and women empowerment. But for the past two weeks, they have been involved in helping corona patients in north Chennai who are in need of oxygen and require hospital admission through auto ambulances. So far, they have helped save nearly 150-170 lives.
“At present, we are operating only two autos as emergency ambulances within 15km radius in north Chennai alone. We get at least 150-200 calls per day, but are able to attend only around 50 patients. We cannot attend to all calls because there is no bed availability in hospitals and hence we have to check with every facility for availability along with the patient in the auto ambulance. Sometimes it takes more than four-five hours for one patient to get admitted. Also, we are running only two autos and becomes difficult to help all patients in a day. Instead, our volunteers help them by calling an ambulance so they are admitted nearby, ” said N Sathyaraj, Treasurer, Kadamai Education and Social Welfare Trust.
These auto ambulances are operated by six people on a shift basis round the clock and they respond promptly to callers who seek medical oxygen to improve their oxygen levels. They have installed 47-litre capacity of oxygen cylinders in the autos. “The oxygen cylinder is sufficient only for 25-30 patients and we change it daily, and nowadays it is difficult to get oxygen supply. We have a few volunteers from the oxygen supply agency, where they help us by providing oxygen supply/ refill daily,” said Sathyaraj.
“There are many COVID patients suffering for lack of oxygen and no access to an ambulance. So, we take our auto ambulance and give them oxygen supply and admit them to the government hospitals. Most patients are below the age group 45,” he added.
The drivers wear a PPE kit and provide one for COVID patients too. The NGO team takes precautions to ensure their families are not infected because of them.