Each of Ad-din’s 66 ambulances is just 1.4 m wide and 3.4 m long (4 feet, 7 inches
by 11 feet, 2 inches). Each ambulance is equipped with a stretcher, an oxygen tank, a mask, and two small fans. The compact design means that ambulances can navigate nearly any Dhaka road and weave more effectively through the congested traffic than larger vehicles might. To ensure efficiency and quality, each ambulance in the Ad-din network is equipped with a GPS tracking device, which allows dispatchers to quickly determine which driver can reach a given patient with greatest ease and speed. This rapid response is especially important for women who are experiencing obstetric complications and need emergency care.
The fleet is managed by an ambulance desk near the entrance of Ad-din Hospital,
where a dispatcher asks callers for their name, location, contact number, and the patient’s name. The dispatcher does not discuss the patient’s health issue, as the ambulance service is available to all. Rather, the dispatcher determines which driver is closest and available, then puts the driver and requesting party in touch with one another so they can confirm how soon the ambulance will arrive and exactly how to locate the patient’s address. Patients can choose to be driven to any facility in Dhaka, unless they urgently require care, in which case the driver takes them to the nearest appropriate facility.
Since 2009, uptake of Ad-din’s ambulance service has been rapid. Although ambulance services are typically designed to assist patients in reaching emergency care, the service also provides an important transport option for patients needing to return home from the hospital; 62% of Ad-din ambulance trips in 2010 were to return discharged obstetric patients to their homes. In the same year, 82% of incoming patients using Ad-din’s ambulances chose to be delivered to a hospital other than Ad-din.