US and Latvia team up on ambulance support station

On Tuesday, July 21, U.S. Embassy Riga Chargé d'Affaires Sharon Hudson-Dean, Deputy Director of Healthcare Department of Latvian Ministry of Health Biruta Kleina, and Director of State Emergency Medical Service (NMPD) Armands Ploriņš will participate in a groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of an emergency vehicle garage at the District Ambulance Support Station (DASS) ‘Krasts’ in Riga, the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy in Riga announced on Monday.

U.S. European Command’s Civic Engagement program, which funded the project with 782,000 USD, will work together with Latvia’s Ministry of Health, the State Emergency Medical Service, LLC “Healthcare Real Estate”, Veselības Centrs 4, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the U.S. Embassy Office of Defense Cooperation to reconstruct an unused section of a building, construct a new vehicle garage, and provide equipment and furniture. 

The new center will be a hub for eight medical teams servicing an area of 408 square kilometers and 217,000 people in the Latgale priekspilseta, Salaspils, Baldones and Stopini regions. DASS ‘Krasts’, which currently is located in four different locations in the region, will consolidate its operations into the new facility. The new center will offer a comfortable work environment for staff, a garage for parking and maintenance of emergency medical service vehicles, and warehouse space.

The DASS ‘Krasts’ is the second NMPD project financially supported by the U.S. European Command’s Civic Engagement program.  Last August, NMPD constructed the Kurzeme Regional Dispatcher Center at a cost of 991,000 USD. Another project at the Regional Management and Dispatch Center in Riga, Duntes iela, is slated to begin in the next few months. That project’s estimated cost is 235,000 USD. 

"We have an agreement with the US Embassy and the US Army that they invest in NMPD infrastructure, and we have a project like that each year. We previously acquired new premises for the Kurzeme district center in Kuldīga, and this is the second [infrastructure] object. We have plans for new objects from now on so it's not just one-off aid - rather it's a coordinated effort by the US Embassy and the US Army. Of course, we also have to realize that the NMPD is a crucial part of the security of the state, and that's why they support projects like these," said Armands Ploriņš in an interview to Latvian Radio on Tuesday.

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