Fragmented Ambulance Services in Sri Lanka Evolve into A Modern System
Fragmented ambulance services evolve into a modern system Situated in the Indian Ocean, separated from India by the Palk Strait, Sri Lanka is the 25th largest island in the world (See Figure 1). Its complex geographical features-peaks, plateaus, valleys, rivers and tropical forests-are subject to a variety of natural hazards, including floods, landslides, cyclones and tsunamis.1 With ancient cultural roots going back to the 6th century B.C., Sri Lanka's modern colonial history began with Portuguese, Dutch and British settlements in the 16th century. By 1815, Britain was the sole colonial power. In 1948, Sri Lanka became an independent country within the British Commonwealth, and in 1972 it became a republic. From a public health perspective, trauma in Sri Lanka has become a significant factor. On average, road injuries kill one person every 4.5 hours.2 With an aging population and an average life expectancy at 74.9 years, Sri Lanka is seeing an increase in the prevalence of noncommunicable diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, cancers and asthma. With coronary heart disease and stroke as the top two causes of death, the country faces escalating health costs and a need for timely emergency care.3 First Efforts &Setbacks Modern initiatives to begin a comprehensive EMS system date back to 2003, when a consortium of government agencies, the National Hospital of Sri Lanka and SweRoad, a privately-owned company of the Swedish National Road Administration under the Ministry ...
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