RTA announces Awnak service for special needs, non-emergency illnesses

Source:  www.rta.ae

In implementation of the directives of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to provide improved services and decent means of living to special needs and elderly, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has launched ‘Awnak’ service to offer transit service to the disabled and patients classified as non-emergency cases that do not require calling an ambulance service.

The service is considered the first of its kind in the region and third worldwide after the UK and Ireland, where vehicles deployed combine dual features of ambulance vehicles and taxicabs.

H.E. Mattar Al Tayer, Chairman of the Board and Executive Director of the RTA, said: “The launch of this service comes in implementation of the directives of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to care for the disabled segment of the community and take regulatory as well as practical steps that protect their rights, particularly as regards providing them with proper medical care, education and employment in order to integrate them into the community as active individuals who have rights & duties as provided for by the UAE Federal Law No (29) for 2006.”

“Such a step is also a manifestation of the initiative of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince and Chairman of the Executive Council, billed ‘My Community has a Place for All’ aimed at converting the entire Dubai into a disabled-friendly city by 2020. This could be materialized through bolstering the current efforts of the Emirate towards empowering special needs, boosting the efficiency of the existing projects & initiatives & adding further to them under a vision aimed at maximizing the positive contribution of this segment to the community, and opening up new business avenues for overcoming all obstacles standing  in the way of integrating these individuals into their local societies as productive and innovative members,” explained Al Tayer.

“Awnak initiative is intended to serve patients who have undergone operations in hospitals and  need to have further rest at home, patients who have been examined by doctors and ordered to be admitted for further treatment, in-patients who have to be transferred to other hospitals based on doctor’s recommendation, patients who need to move from homes to hospitals/clinics to see a doctor or vice versa, and disabled & seniors who need to be lifted aboard vehicles fitted with certain specifications.

“The new service, which is the first of its kind in the region, meets the rising demand for specialist transit services to meet the needs of patients, disabled and the elderly. It is also considered a forward step in providing welfare services in support of the medical care in the Emirate. Before introducing this service, the RTA coordinated with the Department of Health Authority, and the Unified Ambulance Service and a set of conditions have been prescribed for service providers including that vehicles must be tailor-made to lift the disabled as per the approved specifications of the RTA and competent bodies in the Emirate. Drivers will be handpicked and trained up to Level 3 of delivering services to non-emergency cases. Moreover, the RTA will provide advanced systems for building databases, booking & dispatch as well as a GIS/tracking system,” added the Chairman of the Board and Executive Director of the RTA.

Concluding his statement, Al Tayer hoped the initiative to be well received by various segments of the community, and offer a helping hand to the targeted category in addressing its mobility needs. More info

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