Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) in collaboration with Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology (SZABIST Karachi) and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) organized an Awareness Seminar titled ‘Saving Lives: Legislative Changes for Giving Way to Ambulances’ JPMC, Karachi.
It was attended by representatives of the media, police, traffic police, transport authorities, health department, emergency medical providers and the medical fraternity. The seminar highlighted the recent amendments made to the Provincial Motor Vehicles Act which makes it mandatory for all motorists to give way to ambulances and other emergency vehicles, failing which the offenders are liable to pay a fine. This seminar focused on this landmark legislative change that not only impacts patient survival, but also prevents attacks against emergency health care.
Speaking on the occasion, Syed Nasir Hussain Shah, Minister for Works and Services Department said that passing the law is an important milestone. But this step will translate into safer roads for the injured, the sick and those in distress only if the law is respected and properly implemented. He appreciated the efforts of the ICRC, SZABIST, JPMC, and the Law and Transport Departments of the Sindh government for this positive legislative change.
Dr. Seemin Jamali, Executive Director, JPMC said the JPMC being a hospital situated in the hub of the city faces traffic management. Even though there was Sindh Provincial Vehicle Ordinance and the amendments made to it, there was still a need for executing the law.
Reto Stocker, Head of Delegation at ICRC Pakistan said that seeing an ambulance ahead of him he wondered if it was transporting a child injured in an accident or someone having a heart attack. Through research about the priorities of emergency vehicles such as ambulances they have found ways of making the right intervention and legal redressal so that those in their cars and on motorbikes could make a difference.
Najam Abbasi, Head of Communications at ICRC said that ICRC was first invited to Pakistan by the Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah himself for establishing refugee camps here in 1947. Since then we have been providing aid alongside Pakistani authorities here during all wars and disasters such as earthquakes and floods.
Javed Ali Mahar, Karachi’s Deputy Inspector General of Traffic Police said that it was good to educate road users as spreading awareness helped people understand their responsibility and roles in society. He also said that distributing leaflets among people and putting up banners about the law could help make people better understand their responsibilities.
SZABIST faculty Ms. Sana Jafri expressing her views on the Provincial Motor Vehicle (amendments) Act of 2018 said that fines will be imposed on people if they try to block or obstruct the way of ambulance.