Old ambulances to be used for homeless disabled in Chennai

The state health department of Chennai has around 300 old ambulances lying idle and not in active use anymore.

It has been decided to use these old ambulances for the rescue and aid of disabled homeless people of the city.

The decision was taken in the meeting held last week that was attended by the representatives of the National Health Mission, the commissionerate for the disabled and various NGOs that work for the mentally ill.

The project is expected to start in the next two months and will be run as a trial for a duration of one year.

The manpower to run the ambulance service will be provided the staff on the 104 medical counselling helpline and the state-branch of Indian Red Cross Society.

The helpline can be contacted in aces a homeless mentally ill person is seen on the roadside.

Once a call is made the nearest available ambulance will be alerted and the counsellor in the ambulance will access the mental condition of the disabled person.

After the initial screening the patient will be taken to the Institute of Mental Health, Kilpauk, for further evaluation.

The police will also be alerted to track the family or kin of the mentally disabled person found on the road.

Around 3,500 homeless people are there in Chennai. Experts say, at least 30% of them suffer from psychiatric problems, with 1-3% with severe mental illnesses.

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