Chimi Dema 

Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) donated an ambulance to the health ministry yesterday.

Officials from TIKA office in Dhaka, Bangladesh, handed over the Toyota Land Cruiser ambulance, costing about Nu 5.308M (million).

Monks performed purification ritual before the handing ceremony.

The director general of Medical Services Department, Dr Pandup Tshering, said the ambulance, which is fully equipped with basic life support, would be dispatched to a health centre after conducting a need-based assessment.

The ambulance, he said, would help strengthen providing emergency medical services in the country, which the ministry has been prioritising in the past two years.

With the new ambulance, the country today has 117 ambulances, majority of which were donated by Japan International Cooperation Agency and His Holiness the Je Khenpo.

Health Minister Dechen Wangmo said that in shortage of medical specialists in health facilities in the country, bringing patients to regional health centres depend on the mode of transport like ambulances.

“These ambulances that we have received from various donors in the past have facilitated in providing a good and quality service to our people, mostly to those in the remote villages,” she said.

Acknowledging the support that the Government of Turkey has rendered in strengthening health services in the country, Lyonpo assured that the ambulance would be used efficiently.

Meanwhile, Coordinator of TIKA office, Ismail Gundogdu (PhD) said the in-kind support was expected to further strengthen the cooperation between the two countries.

Given the need for additional ambulances, the government has allocated a budget for 31 new ambulances in the current plan.  Of the 31 new ambulances, about 18 would replace the existing ambulances that have been in use for more than 10 years.