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Karnataka’s ICU on Wheels Saves Lives in Pandemic, Wins SKOCH Award

Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation won Skoch-Order of Merit award for ‘Sarige Suraksha-ICU on Wheels' initiative. Under this initiative, buses were converted into 5-bedded ambulances and all necessary life support systems were installed in them. This 'ICU on Wheels' initiative of KSRTC has saved thousands of Covid patients’ lives in Karnataka.
Indian Masterminds Stories

A few months ago, when the second wave of Covid 19 was wreaking havoc, the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) took an initiative that not only reduced the spread of the virus in Karnataka but also made easy treatment available to patients. ‘Sarige Suraksha – ICU on Wheels’ is an ambulance service, in which buses are equipped with all necessary life support systems like Oxygen, BP Machine, ECG Machine, Ventilator, Emergency Medical System and generator facility etc. This life-saving initiative of KSRTC has now received the prestigious ‘Skoch-Order of Merit’ award, which was presented to IAS officer Shivayogi C. Kalasad, Managing Director, KSRTC, during the 76th Skoch State of Governance Summit.

According to KSRTC, the estimated cost of these buses is around Rs 10 lakh, which is fully borne by the department. More than 12 oxygen-supply buses are being operated in several districts by four State Road Transport Corporations of Karnataka. As of now, the department is gearing up to meet the demands of timely treatment and oxygen supply in the wake of a third wave or any other emergency.

ICU on Wheels Bus

THE FACILITY

Under the ICU on Wheels facility, five beds have been installed in each bus after the buses have been converted into ambulances. Each bed has been provided with ventilator, oxygen system, patient monitor (including BP, oxygen check, ECG, temperature measurement) system, emergency medical system as well as a generator to power the equipment. The bus has the facility of a siren just like an ambulance. There is also a notice board in it. There is a doctor and health assistant from the health department in the bus. The ‘ICU on Wheels’ service also visits villages and identifies patients and transports them to the hospital immediately.

Inside view of ICU on Wheels Bus

Managing Director of KSRTC, Shivyogi C. Kalasad, says, “This initiative was mainly started keeping in mind the rural areas. Because in rural areas there is no such facilities for patients in any emergency as there are in urban areas. At present, ‘Sarige Suraksha’ bus service is running in 38 villages of Puttur division (Dakshina Kannada and Kodagu districts). During the last 3 months, we have served more than 4900 people. During covid times, KSRTC adopted many health-friendly services to help the common people. The award is dedicated to all the health workers, drivers, conductors and all other staff of KSRTC.”

IAS Shivayogi C. Kalasad (right) with former CM of Karnataka B. S. Yediyurappa in a ceremony (Credit: Social Media)

The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation had taken up two projects, ‘ICU on Wheels’ and ‘Oxygen on Wheels’, for the rescue and timely treatment of COVID-19 patients in remote areas. Both these schemes have played a big role in dealing with corona and saving lives of infected persons. Under the ‘Oxygen on Wheels’ initiative, oxygen is provided to corona-infected patients in the buses itself.

The Government of Karnataka has also taken the initiative to expand this facility to more district headquarters in the state and is encouraging hospitals and NGOs to come forward and help promote ‘ICU on Wheels’. This model is now being adopted in other states also.

A doctor in ICU on Wheels Bus

SKOCH AWARD

Established in 2003, the Skoch Prize honors people, projects and institutions that strive to make India a better nation. This award is given for exceptional achievements contributing to society. It is the country’s prestigious honor conferred by an independent organization.


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