Air ambulance makes maiden trip to evacuate patient from Kulhudhuffushi

Air ambulance. (Photo/President's Office)

Maldives’ first air ambulance made its maiden trip to Kulhudhuffushi on early Saturday morning, to collect a patient in the northern city.

The air ambulance departed to Kulhudhuffushi at 03:20 am.

The introduction of air ambulance services was one of President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu’s electoral pledges. The long-awaited service was launched on Friday.

According to the Health Ministry, the air ambulance will transfer patients to the nearest tertiary hospital in cases of medical emergencies.

The service uses a converted DHC-8-200 aircraft.

The ambulance is equipped with necessary resources as well as a 15-member team of trained medical personnel, including doctors, nurses and emergency medical technicians.

The ambulance can carry up to two patients per flight.

Health Minister Dr. Abdulla Khaleel has said the capacity will be increased as the service is expanded.

The Health Ministry plans on using the air ambulance not just within Maldives, but also to transfer patients overseas.

Authorities engaged in talks with Sri Lankan officials in January, after which they agreed to issue all necessary authorizations for air ambulances and other emergency flights from Male’ to Colombo in under two hours.

Maldives had previously used a military helicopter and Dornier aircraft donated by India for medical evacuations.

Expelling the Indian soldiers who operate the aircrafts had been another one of the administration’s electoral pledges.

Following negotiations between Male’ and New Delhi, it was agreed to replace the soldiers with Indian technical personnel.

It was agreed “replace the military personnel in one of the three aviation platform” by March 10, and will “complete replacing military personnel in the other two platforms” by May 10.

An Indian civilian crew arrived in Addu to replace the soldiers operating the helicopter on February 26.