Mexican Red Cross ambulance service and volunteers bridging the healthcare gap

Published: 12 December 2014 13:10 CET

“Please don’t leave me,” says Maria, a 60-year-old woman living with disability, before entering the operating room in a public hospital in Mexico City. Adriana reassures her. “Don’t worry, I will wait for you here,” she says.

Hours before, Maria had slipped and fallen on a crystal fish-bowl that caused a severe back injury leading to loss of blood. Not far from where Maria had fallen, a Mexican Red Cross ambulance was on duty. Adriana Carmona, an advanced level paramedic, responded to the emergency call and arrived with her two colleagues. When they arrived, Maria was lying on the floor in a pool of blood. Maria was glad to see Adriana with her team.

The paramedics were able to stabilize her immediately and transport Maria to the Social Security Hospital to get treatment for her injuries. On the way to the hospital, Adriana continued to talk to Maria, gaining her trust. Upon arrival Adriana helped admit Maria in hospital.

Adriana Carmona is part of Mexican Red Cross’ network of more than 42,000 volunteers and some 12,000 paramedics working in providing pre-hospital care services. On average, the Mexican Red Cross provides more than 1.3 million people with emergency ambulance services, free of cost, every year. This equates to Mexican Red Cross responding to eight out of ten ambulance calls.

Maria’s story highlights the tireless work and services being provided by the volunteers who are working towards ensuring equitable access to health for all, everywhere. Pre-hospital care is necessary and provides a unique opportunity for millions of people to receive adequate and life-saving health care prior to reaching the hospital. The health workforce, including trained Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers, are delivering crucial health care services, empowering individuals and increasing local access to life-saving preventive and curative measures. Volunteers, as members of their own communities, are familiar with their environment and know how best to bridge the social, cultural and other barriers that impede progress towards universal coverage.

Vital to achieving universal health coverage is the expansion of the network of healthcare providers and institutions so that everyone can access and afford quality health services. During this Universal Health Coverage Day we encourage governments, corporations and civil society organizations to work collaboratively bringing their unique positions and individual strengths to the table to address the challenges facing universal health coverage.