Most of us during our childhood used to get frightened upon hearing the sound of an ambulance siren, and we could not distinguish it with the sounds of the fire brigade.
It has been a while since my childhood, but when I visited the capital’s hospitals to prepare a report on the services provided by the “Kabul Ambulance”, the siren sound reminded me of my childhood again. However, the difference is that now the ambulances often carry dead bodies and wounded of suicide attacks and other bombing incidents to hospitals instead of sick people.
I went to the Istiqlal Hospital in the west of Kabul to visit its Emergency and Maternity sections. When I got inside, I saw a few of the visitors. One lady looked at a newly arrived ambulance with worried face. She was holding a corner of her veil with her teeth, I approached her.
Her name was Habiba. She said that her sister was expecting a baby. Her sister was transferred to the hospital by the Kabul Ambulance. Habiba said she was satisfied with the Kabul Ambulance services, but said that despite the dedication and hard work of the KA, the messy traffic in the city often causes alarming delays in moving patients to hospitals.
I asked Enayatullah Ibrahimi, another resident of the capital, about the Kabul Ambulance. He referred to an incident in which his brother was severely wounded. Enayatullah said that the congestion on the streets caused the ambulance to arrive late at the site of the incident, and finally transferred his brother to the hospital when it was too late.
Although, Enayatullah’s brother was pronounced dead inside the ambulance, and did not make it to the hospital alive, but Enayatullah was happy with the services of Kabul Ambulance. He said that the staff and nurses of the Kabul Ambulance have done whatever they could to save his brother’s life, but couldn’t.
However, Enayatullah, complained about the city residents and their bad driving habits. According to him, people do not pay much attention to the ambulance siren, and in some cases, block the movement of ambulances intentionally.
After that, I went to the Sina Hospital. I saw a man pull his mother out of the ambulance, and took her to the emergency section. After few minutes, he returned back to the yard of the hospital. The man named Habib Alakozai said that he is also satisfied with the services of Kabul Ambulance, but added that the number of these ambulances should be increased.
Zahra, whose daughter got burnt in the kitchen, was taken to the hospital by the KA in the shortest time possible. She said that the staff of the Ambulance, and the employees of the emergency section of the hospital were very professional in their work.
However, Haji Jamil, a Kabul Ambulance driver, complaint about the traffic congestion across the city, and said that some private car drivers simply ignore the sound of an ambulance siren.
Aalem Assem, Director of Kabul Ambulance, said that the narrow streets, ever increasing numbers of vehicles and so-called VIP movement by government officials have been causing the blockages of roads. According to Mr. Assem, the KA vehicles are equipped with oxygen cylinders, barometers, patient transfer trolley, physicians, special devices for identifying heart attacks and diagnosis of fractures, and other some tools needed in case of a medical emergency.
According to the director of the KA, every resident of the capital city can utilize the free services of these ambulances by calling “102”. However, Mr. Assem said some of the young people have been calling this number simply to tease the staff, which is nuisance. He said there are currently 16 equipped vehicles and 130 personnel serving the capital city at the KA. He also informed that next year the number of equipped vehicles will reach to 20.
Mohibullah Zir, Executive Director of Curative Medicine at the Ministry of Public Health, controls the Kabul Ambulance. He told Salam Watandar that the MoPH intends to showcase the Kabul Ambulance as an exemplary service, and has aimed to extend its services to provinces as well.
The Kabul Ambulance is a good example of a correct and well-planned service to the residents of the city. It has showed that dedicated and responsible work by public and private sector employees can provide the citizens with the best services and facilities in the worst conditions.