The Nepal Ambulance Service (NAS) is a registered Government of Nepal NGO (non-government organisation) that was launched in April 2011 with 5 ambulances built and equipped in India.

It is an independent, non-profit, community initiative.

That is to say, NAS receives only extremely limited government and international donor agency assistance. Its first 5 ambulances were paid for by way of generous contributions from Kathmandu businessmen and private citizens. Indeed, NAS’ asset base as well as its day-to-day operations are almost entirely dependent upon private financial assistance and technical support. NAS receives meager local private community contributions. Some 150 patron members each contribute 1,000 Nepali rupees [£7.50] per month and more than 26 corporate members contribute 5,000 Nepali rupees [£37.50] per month.

Fortunately NAS has developed relationships with a few international organisations willing to provide discrete assistance.In addition to the large in-kind contributions provided by Stanford Emergency Medical International towards the training of EMTs , Swiss based ambulance company Regio 144 sponsors a NAS ambulance in the southern Nepali district of Chitwan, in the City of Bharatpur, Nepal’s fifth largest city.

Nepal’s First EMS Dispatch Centre

As you would expect of any emergency medical service, NAS maintains a toll-free 3 digit phone number which is operative 24/7 and responds to calls in all three district capitals where NAS serves: Kathmandu, Chitwan and Pokhara. NAS also plans to move one of its ambulances soon to Butwal in the Lumbini District.

The NAS dispatch centre is staffed by trained EMT dispatch professionals. Calls are vetted and appraised for urgency and this information is passed on to the nearest ambulance on call. If a particular specialty hospital is required, ambulance crews are directed to that hospital. Medical direction and assistance is available to EMT crews 24/7 from on-call local physicians.

Average ambulance response time is 26 minutes from the start of a call to NAS’ toll free 102 phone number until a NAS ambulance arrives on-scene. To date, 90% of these emergencies were of medical origin (broadly illness but could also be stroke, heart attack, breathing difficulty and more) while 10% were of traumatic origin (acute injury). As of May 2017, NAS has assisted in delivering 39 babies, which were born in NAS ambulances.

To create a work-around for the high priced pre-packaged emergency response software required to run a professional EMS, NAS use purpose-built proprietary software programmed in country by Nepali IT professionals with input and guidance from Stanford University School of Medicine in Palo Alto, California, USA.

Now Running 11 Ambulances

Today, NAS operates 11 ambulances. 5 Basic Life Support vehicles built in India and 6 Advanced Life Support (ALS) Toyotas built in Japan. In the event of a mass casualty emergency, 11 non-NAS ambulances (less highly trained and equipped) can be mobilized as backup through the NAS dispatch centre.

Because of NAS’ impressive work immediately after the April 2015 earthquake and its aftershocks, the service was recognized by the International Medical Corps (IMC) as an essential healthcare infrastructure and, as a result, IMC rewarded NAS with a onetime capital gift of 6 additional brand new ALS ambulances from Japan.

Recent recommendations by The International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG), an organization under the umbrella of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, echo the IMC’s designation of NAS as an essential healthcare infrastructure. According to INSARAG, the development of a well-trained, well-equipped and coordinated EMS will reduce the largely preventable loss of life and limb suffered in Nepal from both daily medical emergencies and future mass casualty incidents or natural disasters.

According to the Nepali Times, more than $4 billion were pledged to assist Nepal’s recovery after the 2015 earthquake (See article). While not all countries have honoured their pledges, it is still not clear how Nepal will prioritize the funds it has received. Friends of NAS are lobbying for some of these recovery funds to support a nationwide EMS. One of the notable ironies of NAS’ success is that the Government of Nepal has requested that NAS expand its services but remains unable to commit to financing NAS itself.


Nepal Ambulance Service is the only skilled and clinically trained emergency medical service operating in Nepal. It provides assistance to everyone, regardless of ability to pay. According to NAS records to date, nearly 7% of the more than 22,000 NAS call-outs have accommodated patients too poor to cover NAS’ modest fees.


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