Swanky 108 ambulances might look very reassuring and attractive for the suffering patients and general public, but manning these life-savers with PPEs kits on, is a nightmare for staff during COVID-19 pandemic.
“The PPEs are double-edged weapons. If you do not wear them, you have 100% chance of getting infected and if you are wearing for a long time it is suffocating and dehydrating due to perspiration,” emergency medical technician Narendra Palthya tells The Hindu.
“A constant sense of danger of getting infected with coronavirus lurks at the back of our minds along with the fear of passing on the infection to our children and other family members,” he says.
A solution to avoid infecting family members is the government arranging some dormitory kind of accommodation for the drivers and technicians, which they have represented to District Medical and Health Officer K.V.N.S. Anil Kumar. The DMHO has promised some help through the municipal corporation.
The only silver lining for the ambulance staff is a hike in their salaries after the new management took over in Andhra Pradesh and a structured training given at Araku, Guntur and Kadapa for the new recruits in the three regions from June 3.
Earlier, the drivers and technicians used to get ₹9,000 a month on an average, which has been enhanced to ₹18,000 for staff with driving experience of below 5 years and ₹20,000 for technicians. Those having 5 to 10 years of experience will get ₹23,000 and ₹25,000 and the crew with more than 10 years of experience will get ₹28,000 and ₹30,000 respectively.