India’s first-ever ‘Air Dispensary’ based in a helicopter is set to come up in the northeast. The Union Ministry of Development of Northeast (DoNER) has already contributed Rs 25 crore as part of the initial funding for the initiative.
The information was shared by DoNER Minister Jitendra Singh on 12 November 2017 after a meeting with the representatives of Aviation Sector and helicopter service/Pawan Hans.
Speaking further on the occasion, the Minister said that the DoNER Ministry had been exploring the idea of introducing a helicopter based Dispensary/OPD service in far-flung and remote areas, where no doctor or medical facility was available and the patient, in need, also did not have any access to any medical care.
He said that the Ministry had submitted a proposal in this regard, which was accepted and is now in the final stages of the process in the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation.
The experiment once implemented in the Northeast may later be followed in other hill states having difficult terrains such as Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh.
• The helicopter will be based at two locations -Imphal in Manipur and Meghalaya in Shillong.
• Both the selected cities host premier postgraduate medical institutes from where specialist doctors, along with the necessary equipment and paramedical staff, would be able to move into the helicopter and hold a dispensary/OPD in different locations across the eight States of North Eastern Region.
• The helicopter would also be able to transport a sick patient, requiring admission, to a city hospital.
• Three twin-engine helicopters will be placed for initial operation on six routes in the region around Imphal, Guwahati and Dibrugarh.
Even today, nearly 1/3rd of India’s population does not have access to proper hospital bed care, as a result of which, poor patients living in remote areas remained deprived of crucial medical care.