Making EMS more effective in Bangladesh

Emergency Medical Services (EMS), also known as ambulance services or paramedic services or pre-hospital transfer services, are emergency services which treat illnesses and injuries that require an urgent medical response, providing out-of-hospital treatment and transport to definitive care.

Usually, these emergency services bring patients to a hospital facility for further treatment. Patients may end up admitting to the surgery or casualty department, Intensive Care Unit (ICU) or elsewhere. The objective of emergency medical services is to keep the patient safe during the transfer and connect them to the next level of care. It is not only the transfer of the patient in an ambulance but also providing care during that period which may involve cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR), ventilation or any other life-saving maneuver.

Intensive care medicine, or critical care medicine, is a branch of medicine concerned with the diagnosis and management of life-threatening conditions that may require sophisticated life support and intensive monitoring.

Dr. Raghib Manzoor, Founder, Managing Director and Chief Consultant of CritiCare Research Centre Pvt. Ltd., who has been working in this sector for many years shared his views regarding the current scenario of EMS in Bangladesh, the immediate need and suggested some way forward.

Dr. Raghib, who is also known as the “emergency man”, said that the critical care discipline is comparatively new in Bangladesh in comparison to other disciplines of medical practice. We have a shortage of manpower to deal with a huge number of demanding patients. There is not a sufficient number of post-graduation programs on this discipline. That is why we have a shortage of doctors. There is also a shortage of other healthcare professionals like the nurse, paramedics etc. The government needs to be proactive in launching robust medical education programs in different medical institutes to create a sufficient number of professionals.

In Bangladesh, most of the ambulances are mainly just converted from ordinary vehicles. They are not equipped with the machinery and facilities to support patients until reaching to the healthcare facilities. Alongside there are resource constraints in the number of ambulances in different healthcare facilities.

In the urban areas, roads are so congested that they hardly provide any space for clearing off the ambulance. People including the authorities need to be aware more to help the ambulatory patients.

Dr. Raghib pointed out that if we can create a network of ambulances to deliver EMS, we can help many people despite the limitations. This could be mobile app based networks that would trigger an ambulance from the nearest source whenever there is a need.

Tareq Salahuddin

Dr. Tareq Salahuddin is an award-winning journalist and a Special Correspondent of News Hour. He is a Public Health Professional working in the development sector. Dr. Tareq, a medical graduate, is a member of Public Health Association of Bangladesh and a former member of the Governing Council and Policy Committee of the World Federation of Public Health Associations (WFPHA), a J2J Fellow on HIV/AIDS and a member of the International AIDS Society. To know more about Dr. Tareq, please visit his personal website ( or simply Google his name.
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