News : Residents Encouraged to Use Free Ambulance Service
Jakarta, Indonesia, May 11 2015 -- The administration’s free ambulance hotline, 118, has been available for a couple of years now but is not as widely used as it could be.
Health Agency head Kusmedi Priharto acknowledged the issues saying that "residents’ awareness is still low", though he did not elaborate any further.
Jakarta Emergency Ambulance director Erizon Safari said most residents were not trained on how to handle emergency situations.
"I am sure that most people still have no idea how and when to call an ambulance," he said, adding that residents likely turned to public transportation such as public minivans or taxis during emergencies.
Ideally, he said, people would not carelessly lift or touch someone who had just been injured in an accident.
"But most Indonesians do not have the patience and just rush victims to the hospital, whereas on-the-spot emergency treatment may determine whether or not the victim can be saved. Careless treatment can also result in disabilities," Erizon told The Jakarta Post at the Jakarta Emergency Ambulance headquarters in Sunter, North Jakarta, recently.
He acknowledged that horrendous traffic in the capital deterred residents from calling ambulances, probably because they feared the ambulance would arrive late.
"Previously, we had a motorcycle ambulance to take emergency measures on the spot to stabilize the patient before the actual ambulance arrived to transport the patient to the hospital for further treatment. But it was suspended," he said, adding that he wished to revive the program this year.
Reintroducing the motorcycle ambulance service, he said, would help his team shorten the response time from the current 30-40 minutes to 10-15 minutes.
At present, the Jakarta Emergency Ambulance, run by the Health Agency, operates 27 ambulances in separate locations across five municipalities, with a number of spare ambulances on stand by at the headquarters. The ambulance service is provided for free to Jakarta’s residents, while non Jakarta-based ID holders are required to pay for each trip.
With a total of 43 ambulances, current capacity is still far from adequate for the capital’s population of 10 million. Also there has not yet been any coordination between the Health Agency’s ambulances and private ambulance operators.
"The ambulance units were all equipped with GPS [global positioning system] units, so we can monitor them from the headquarters’ control room. Our call center officers, who are all trained nurses, will direct the units to the location of the callers and to health facilities that can accommodate the patients," he explained while showing a number of LCD monitors displaying the positions of the ambulances.
Jakarta Emergency Ambulance’s command center coordinator Muji Artono pointed out that the center received hundreds calls on average per day.
"We receive up to 1,000 calls a day. Excluding the prank calls, we are unable to offer services to about 10 percent of all calls. Most of the time, it is because the nearest ambulance was already being used and the new patient could not wait for too long," he said.
Of all the calls, 60 percent were from patients who needed to be transferred from one health facility to another because they need further treatment. The remaining cases happened outside or at home.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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