Sri Lanka’s Key ambulance service, gifted by India, seeks adoption

Sri Lanka’s Key ambulance service, gifted by India, seeks adoption



  •  Will you adopt a 1990 Suwaseriya ambulance and help save lives?” — bold letters screamed in a half-page advertisement in Tuesday’s edition of Sri Lanka’s top business daily. The economic conditions in Srilanka have worsened and they are finding it difficult to maintain the ambulance services.

Points to ponder:

  • The 1990 ambulance service was first launched in 2016 with 88 ambulances in Sri Lanka’s Western and Southern Provinces, with an Indian grant of $7.56 million.
  • Within a couple of years, the service expanded island-wide with an additional Indian grant of $15.09 million.
  • After the initial training of some 700 technicians in India, the service has been run entirely by Sri Lanka as a semi-government, not-for-profit organization under the Ministry of Health.
  • Currently, the service operates a fleet of 297 ambulances that provide a critical response to medical emergencies across all nine provinces of Sri Lanka.
  • While India’s grant played a crucial role in the initial launch and expansion of the 1990 ambulance service in Sri Lanka, the recent appeal for finances to keep the ambulance service afloat has been made entirely by Sri Lanka, as the service is now being run by the Sri Lankan government as a semi-government, not-for-profit organization.
  • The Treasury is unable to completely finance its activities due to the present fiscal situation, which may lead to the service becoming untenable in 2023. The Sri Lankan government is asking businesses and people to “adopt an ambulance” for LKR 5 million each.