As part of United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) commitment to “leave no one behind”, the innovation lab of its Access to Information (a2i) Programme officially handed over two low-cost ambulances to Research Training and Management International (RTMI) in Cox’s Bazar on Thursday.
“These low-cost ambulances will not only help patients, particularly pregnant women, in the Rohingya camps avail services of nearby hospitals but also save lots of money,” said Refugee, Relief and Repatriation Commissioner Mohammad Abul Kalam Azad.
The ambulances were purchased by United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to support their efforts at the camps, said a press release. RTMI is their implementing partner.
UNFPA Chief of Health Dr Sathya Doraiswamy, a2i Representative Director (Joint Secretary) Md Abdus Sabur Mondal and RTMI Executive Director Syed Jaglul Pasha were present at the ceremony held at the Cox’s Bazar Circuit House.
“We have a district innovation team and we always promote any innovation that helps the people, particularly the marginalised community, to lead a better life. These ambulances will certainly add great value in Cox’s Bazar, specially in the Rohingya community,” said Md Kamal Hossain, deputy commissioner of Cox’s Bazar, who chaired the ceremony.
An innovator hailing from Jashore, Mizanur Rahman, developed the ambulance initially.
After winning the ninth round of a2i’s Innovation Fund, the project was incubated under the supervision of the Innovation Lab to reach its current state of being a financially viable means of patient transport.
The low-cost ambulances have a base price of Tk 3.5 lakh and final price would depend on its retrofit of medical equipment. It can carry one patient and two attendants and is able to ply 25km for every litre of oil.
Lowered operation cost and easily available spares mean that these ambulances can be used to transport people from marginal areas to healthcare centres or places where the patients can be transferred to more technologically advanced ambulances for longer travel.