Swedish gift for patients


Kalimpong, June 4: Come July 2007 patients from the hill town and neighbouring areas, can look forward to a little bit of help from Sweden.

A diverse group of professionals from the Scandinavian country has got together to donate two custom-built ambulances from the Mercedes stable to a local NGO, Himalayan Organisation for People’s Education (HOPE), for use by poor patients.

The ambulances, of 2000 vintage and fitted with life-saving equipment and full sized beds, have already been procured in Sweden. “We will begin our journey from Sweden on June 11 next year, and should arrive here in early July,” said Greger Thalen, a member of the charity group that is called Ambulance Donation.

A 10-member team headed by expedition leader Kjell Bornelnad and coordinator Tina Hoijer will be ferrying the ambulances by road from Sweden. The convoy will include a Landrover and two motorcycles. The team comprises a doctor, a lawyer, entrepreneurs and nurses — most of them based in Strangnas — who will bear their own travel costs.

The group had donated similar ambulances to poor patients of Nepal in 2004 and Morocco in 2005.

Thalen, who is a doctor, met the members of HOPE here today. “We want the ambulances to be used for the benefit of the poor people. They should be run on non-profit basis,” said Thalen.

HOPE, which does not have the wherewithal to run an ambulance service, plans to hand over the vehicles to government or private hospitals willing to meet the running cost, provided the ambulances are available to poor patients.

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