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October 19, 2019

Govt releases Rs179m to resume operations of Aman ambulance


October 19, 2019

The Sindh government has released an amount of Rs179.77 million for the Sindh Rescue and Medical Services, commonly known by its former official name, Aman Ambulance, so that it can resume its services in the city.

An official statement issued on Friday quoted the spokesperson for the Sindh government and adviser to the Sindh chief minister on law and environment, Barrister Murtaza Wahab, as saying that the provincial government had issued a cheque of the aforementioned amount to the Aman Foundation.

A day earlier, the Aman Foundation had announced that it was suspending its ambulance service in Karachi on account of unavailability of funds, stating that as the provincial government had failed to provide them the required funds to maintain their operations, they could no more continue the ambulance service.

On Friday, Wahab said the Sindh CM had given his approval a day earlier for the issuance of a grant for the Aman ambulance service. He added that the grant had been issued with the aim to provide high-quality health facilities to the citizens of Sindh.

The ambulance service works in collaboration with the Sindh government under public-private partnership mode. It was renamed as the Sindh Rescue and Medical Services in May this year after an agreement was reached between the Aman Foundation and the Sindh government, under which the Sindh government had undertaken to cover operational expenses of the ambulance service.

According to the memorandum of understanding (MoU) that was signed between the Sindh government and the Aman Foundation, the former was supposed to provide funds to the latter through another body, the Patient Aid Foundation. However, when the Patient Aid Foundation refused to work as an intermediary between the two, the provincial government stopped providing funds to the Aman Foundation, citing legal issues.

Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho had said a couple of days ago that due to some legal problems, the government was unable to provide funds to the Aman Foundation to run the ambulance service. She, however, had added that a summary had been sent to the chief minister for his approval so that a new MoU could be signed with the foundation that would enable it to continue its operations.

As the announcement regarding temporary closure of Aman ambulance service was made on Thursday, employees of the service said they had not been paid salaries since the last four months and the government had also not provided them funds for the fuel and other expenses. They added that the Aman ambulance was the only ambulance service that had trained medical and paramedical staff in its ambulances along with medicines.

A spokesperson for the Aman ambulance, Murtaza Kazmi, had also confirmed on Thursday that the operations of the ambulance service had been temporarily suspended due to unavailability of funds. He said people in need of rescue and medical services in case of emergency should approach other ambulance services being managed by various welfare organisations.

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